The South Tahoe girls basketball team epitomized efficient team play Tuesday against the Carson Senators and the result was a 59-47 victory at Morse Burley Gym.
Crisp passing, patient shooting, solid defense and pulling down rebounds for second-chance opportunities were all in the Vikings' repertoire as they withstood a tough first quarter by Carson before gradually pulling away for good to improve to 3-3 in Sierra League play and 8-8 overall.
" It was a good game. Carson kept hanging around," South Tahoe coach Chris Holmes said. "They might be depleted by missing (center Danielle) Peacon (who transferred to Reed) and Brandi (Vega, who didn't return to the team), but they played tough. It was a competitive game.
"Those second opportunities were big. We've been working on that in practice. It's also a matter of knowing when to run our offense. We've got a bunch of scorers. We're well balanced - everyone can score. We have a lot of shooters and teams have to guard them all."
Sophomores Alexis Holmes and Alexis Nunez-Fenley and junior Jessi Hallard each scored 12 points to lead the Vikings, who also got nine from senior Tess Braun.
Carson, which fell to 1-6 and 4-18, got another big night from sophomore guard Gina Bianchi, who scored a team-high 18 points, falling just short of her fourth consecutive 20-point game.
The Senators also got 13 points from sophomore Yvonne Hollett, who buried three 3-pointers, but they led the game only once at 2-0.
A Bianchi layup drew Carson within 16-14 to close the first quarter, but that's as close as the Senators would get the rest of the way as South Tahoe went on a 12-3 run, which was capped by Hallard's three to make it 28-17, with 3 minutes, 6 seconds to go in the first half.
"Jessie, I thought, had the most important role - to guard 31 (Bianchi)," Holmes said. "Carson did a great job of getting her the ball and getting her shots. I didn't know she could score in the post. Jessie played good defensively, She has long arms."
Carson coach Todd Ackerman said he wasn't impressed with his team's energy.
"I don't think our effort was very good - not to take anything from (the Vikings)," Ackerman said. "Knowing the effort we've given in other games - and we talked about it at halftime - we didn't play as hard as we are capable."
South Tahoe held a 33-22 lead at halftime and Carson could only cut the margin to single digits five times, the last on a Bianchi layup to make it 54-45 with 1:10 to go.
Ackerman said it was a matter of his team getting off on the wrong foot against the Vikings, something he said has been a recurring theme.
"We didn't start off with a great effort," he said. "We get in the hole and have to work, work, work - just the way it happened with North Valleys (in a loss on Saturday). We have to eliminate that. We didn't want to do the same thing tonight.
"We need to have effort from five people on the floor. We have to give our best effort or we're going to struggle. We're capable. We just have to find it within ourselves and pull it out."
Holmes, who passed his plaudits for the win all through his well-balanced lineup, particularly applauded the Alexis-Alexis nexus.
Said Holmes: "Alexis Holmes started last year as a freshman. She plays bigger than she is - she's 5-7. She gets down low and has a great outside shot, but she doesn't take it very often.
"Alexis Nunez-Fenley is 5-8 and physical. She gives us what we need. She goes against (6-foot Douglas center) Jessica Waggoner and North Valley's Helena Inskeep (who is 5-11). All of our girls have to play bigger than they are."
Holmes also credited Braun (a four-year varsity player) and Karli Vath (a three-year varsity player) for their on-court leadership.
"It's the first game we've been healthy in a week," Holmes said. " Tess and Karli have been out with ankle sprains. They're our two leaders. I like the (direction) we're headed now."
Next up for the Senators is a Friday date with the Reno Huskies in Reno. Tip-off is 5:15 p.m.
South Tahoe will face Reno in back-to-back games.