Truckee basketball | Boys stun Vikings with 16-point win
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — The Truckee boys basketball team finally delivered the breakout performance its head coach was waiting for — and it resulted in the team’s biggest win of the season. The Wolverines stunned South Tahoe 50-34 on the road Saturday, notching their second win in league play while sending the Vikings to a third straight loss.
“Our guys wanted to win and they came to play — if you come to play, you can win,” Truckee coach Sky Nelson said.
Both teams started slow offensively, and Truckee (2-7 league, 4-13 overall) had an 8-3 lead after the first quarter. The Wolverines and South Tahoe (5-5, 9-10) combined for four field goals in the opening frame, the last of which was a 3-pointer from senior guard Nick Oberriter that put Truckee ahead by six.
The Wolverines capped a back-and-forth second quarter with four straight points to take a 20-14 lead at halftime. South Tahoe made it a two-point game twice in the frame, but wasn’t able to take the lead.
“I told them to do what we do — keep the ball moving,” Nelson said.
In the second half, Truckee continued to hold off the Vikings before eventually pulling away. The Wolverines had a 10-point lead shrink to three with 2:26 to play in the third quarter, but answered with six straight points and took a 29-23 lead into the fourth.
In the fourth quarter, South Tahoe came within five points twice — but Truckee answered each time. After a layup from Vikings guard Harry Moses-Chakmakis made it 37-32 with 3:40 to play, the Wolverines scored eight straight points to deliver the knockout blow and avenge a 17-point loss from the first round of league play.
“I was hoping they would maintain their poise — and they did,” Nelson said. “They did a nice job of closing it out — we made our free throws.”
Senior guard Chase Vankirk led Truckee with 14 points in the victory and Oberitter added 12 in his first game back from a shoulder injury. Forward Stone Merkley scored a team-high 12 points for the Vikings, whose 34 points marked their season low.
“We’ve been working on our defense,” Nelson said. “Not just what it is, but more on quickness and getting fingers on the basketball — touching the ball.”
Throughout Saturday’s game, the Wolverines found reliable ways to break down South Tahoe’s full-court press. Nelson attributed that success to the job Truckee’s second team did simulating the Vikings’ pressure in practices last week.
“That enabled us to attack their press really hard and it worked out really well,” Nelson said. “We got a lot of easy buckets out of it — if you go 1-for-2 against the press, I’ll take that every day.”
Truckee returned to action Tuesday at Sparks (the game ended too late for publication). The Wolverines host Fallon on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and play at Lowry on Saturday.
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