By Jeremy Evans
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. - It's been a long time since the South Tahoe girls' basketball team was disappointed to lose to Carson, and the Senators were happy to beat the Vikings. But that was the obviously case after Carson stunned South Tahoe 48-46 in overtime on Tuesday night, crashing the Vikings' senior night festivities at STHS.
A perennial Northern 4A playoff team, Carson notched just its second league victory of the season, improving to 5-22 overall and 2-11 in the Sierra League. South Tahoe, which remains in contention for its first playoff bid since 1996, dropped to 11-10 and 6-6.
"We haven't seen the press in three games ... I wouldn't say we handled it well tonight, but we handled it enough," Carson coach Todd Ackmerman said of the Vikings, who prefer a much quicker pace than the Senators. "Outside of two or three games, we've been in all of our games, so it's nice for the girls to get another win."
The Senators led the entire way, building a 26-19 halftime lead that was extended to 36-24 with 7:29 left in the game. At that point, it didn't good for the Vikings.
"I didn't know we were down by that many until I looked up at the scoreboard," said STHS senior point guard Tess Braun, who scored 10 points. "It's frustrating because that is a game we shouldn't be losing."
The Vikings responded with a 17-5 run to end regulation, capped by sophomore Alexis Holmes' 3-pointer with 1:18 remaining. Holmes scored 10 of her game-high 17 points in the fourth quarter. Both teams turned the ball over on their last possession of regulation, but things got more interesting in overtime.
Tied 44-44, the Senators had a chance to grab the lead but missed two free throws with 58 seconds left. Carson's Tiandra Hudson, though, pulled down an offensive board on the second miss and scored on a putback to make it 46-44.
Hudson, who scored 10 points, then converted a pair of free throws with 37 seconds left, increasing the Senators' lead to 48-44.
With 19 seconds remaining, the Vikings' Alexis Nunes-Fenley grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on a putback. Then the Senators missed two free throws, giving the Vikings one last chance. Their shot at the buzzer, however, couldn't find its way in.
"At end of regulation and the end of overtime, we got the shot we wanted both times," said STHS coach Chris Holmes. "Sometimes the ball just doesn't go in. Carson played a good game. They have a real patient offense, and it worked for them tonight."
The Vikings play at second-place Douglas tonight in Minden, then travel to Reno to face North Valleys in a game that has playoff implications. The Vikings and Panthers are tied for third place in the standings. The top four teams qualify for Northern 4A regional tournament.
"We're still thinking about playoffs," said STHS senior Karli Vath, who scored five points in Tuesday's loss. "We felt we should've whooped them, but hopefully we can come out and beat Douglas."
Gina Bianchi led the Senators with 13 points.