Panthers break through to beat CHS
Panthers break through to knock off Senators
RENO – Forget about those nights when North Valleys High School could be regarded as a breather on the Sierra League boys basketball schedule.
The Panthers may have finished at the bottom of the league in their first two years of existence as a program, but on Friday night they emerged as a team not to be overlooked Friday night with a 62-55 victory at home at the expense of the Carson Senators.
It marked only the second league win for a program that finished 0-12 in 2002 and 1-11 in 2003.
“This might be one of the best wins in our school history; I know there haven’t been many,” said North Valleys coach Kyle Cerfoglio, whose club improved to 1-2 in league (7-10 overall). “We’ve been something of a free win for everybody in the past, but hopefully, we’re getting up there where we can be competitive.”
Carson coach Bruce Barnes knew coming in there would be nothing free about the game.
“We knew North Valleys was a much improved team and they proved it tonight,” Barnes said. “We’d seen them and they play hard. They took McQueen to overtime and played well against some California teams, so we knew they’d be tough.”
The Panthers showed confidence down the stretch by knocking down 12 of 14 free throws in the final five minutes to put the game away.
On the other hand, turnovers proved to be critical as the Senators fell to 0-2 in league (8-9 overall).
“We gave up way too many turnovers, especially at crucial times,” Barnes said. “We just weren’t able to maintain any consistency on offense.”
The game’s pivotal point may well have been the final two minutes of the third quarter when Carson gave up turnovers on five successive turnovers and North Valleys scored eight unanswered points to turn a 37-34 deficit into a 42-37 lead.
“I really challenged the kids before the start of the game,” Cerfoglio said. “I thought we could have played harder down at Douglas (a 74-41 loss last Friday). We watched film from that game, showed them where they were loafing a few times and told them there’s no other way to play than all-out, and I think they responded well tonight.”
The Senators regained the lead with a 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter as Jeffrey Hurzel buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key while Kyle Bacon hit a jumper and then converted a pair of free throws. Hurzel also assisted on a Rory Wunsch breakaway layup that tied the score 46-46.
Scott Zamora scored on a follow shot to put North Valleys on top 48-46 with 2:53 remaining. Six-foot-7 senior Scott Rosa was fouled as he came down with rebounds twice and converted each of his four straight free throws to give the Panthers a 52-46 cushion.
Jason Alcasas, who led all scorers with 20 points for Carson, sank five of six free throws and Adam Houghton added two more free throws to cut the North Valleys lead to 58-55 with 25.5 seconds showing on the clock. Bryan Coursey dropped in two more free throws and Timmy Wholey scored on a breakaway layup to put the game away.
Zamora finished with 16 points and Rosa 15 to lead North Valleys offensively. Rosa also grabbed seven rebounds and blocked seven shots.
Wunsch finished with 14 points including a pair of treys for the Senators, who return home to play another league game against South Tahoe at 5 p.m. today.