Dayton Nation is back in state playoffs

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Charles Whisnand

The Dayton Nation is back.

Last year, the community of Dayton rallied behind the Dust Devil boys basketball team as it made its run to an NIAA 3A State runner-up finish. The Dust Devils' large contingent of fans earned the nickname Dayton Nation in the process.

Dayton has earned its second straight trip to the NIAA 3A State Tournament and the community support has continued. "We've had great support from our community," Dayton coach Rob Streeter said.

It's no suprise that the motto this week at Dayton High has been the Dayton Nation is back. So look for Dayton fans to be at Spanish Springs in full force at 4:40 p.m. Friday when the Dust Devils play Rite of Passage in the state semifinals.

The winner will face the winner between Manogue and Moapa Valley for the state title at 8:20 p.m. Saturday at Lawlor Events Center.

Another rural school with a proud basketball tradition will also be making its second straight trip to the state tournament when Virginia City will face Lake Mead in the 1A state semifinals at 4:40 p.m. Friday at Damonte Ranch. The winner will face the Pyramid Lake-Trinity winner at 1:40 p.m. Saturday at Lawlor Events Center for the state title.

Dayton earned a return trip to state with a 50-44 win over Yerington last Saturday in the Northern 3A third place game at Winnemucca.

"We're looking forward to the opportunity of playing one more weekend," Streeter said. "Our kids played well last weekend."

There's no denying that Dayton received a favorable draw with ROP, which beat Manogue for the Northern 3A title. The Dust Devils have played on even terms with ROP this season, losing to the Rams at home 71-67 and winning at ROP 78-74 in overtime.

But Streeter knows the challenge ahead for his club against a team that features talented point guard Kevin Deshields.

"It's going to be a load," Streeter said. "They're a great squad. They're very athletic. Deshields is so quick.

"We're not intimidated by any means going into this game. We definitely feel we can compete with them."

Streeter said the strategy won't change against ROP. "We try to keep the tempo somewhat in our favor," he said. "They just have far too many athletes.

"We'll make them play defense. We're very patient on offense when we play them. We'll try to keep them off the boards as well."

Dayton is led by four-year varsity player and three-year starter, point guard Matt Bowman.

"Matt means everything to us," Streeter said. "He's our floor leader. We can't have a kid mean any more to us. He's just a great kid."

Senior guard Adam Diament is the team's leading scorer and rebounder. Danny Green, a 5-10 senior, provided key defense against Yerington's talented 6-5 sophomore Derek Lee, holding him to two points in the third place game.

Sophomore Josh Aaker and junior Danny Hopper platoon at one starting spot and junior Trent Wood is the other starter. Senior Ryan Blaver came off the bench to hit three key three-pointers against Yerington. Other players off the bench include senior R.C. Remington, freshman Travis Wood and junior Zane Walker, who also played well against Yerington, Streeter said.


The Muckers overcame a double-digit deficit in the Northern 1A semifinals to beat Wells 49-45 to qualify for state. But then Virginia City suffered a letdown against Pyramid Lake in a 55-31 loss in the finals last Saturday. Pyramid Lake has won three of the four meetings with the Muckers this season.

"I thought we had a big comeback the night before," said Virginia City coach Hector Bucchianeri about the Wells game. "We were in trouble right until four minutes left.

"We were shooting horrible in the first half. Some of us were happy we we're in state and forgot that we had a game left. Pyramid's a tough team, though. I think with us it's a mental thing."

While Bucchianeri said Virginia City can't look past Lake Mead, there's no denying that the Muckers would like another shot at Pyramid Lake.

"We've got our work cut out for us this week," Bucchianeri said. " W've got some fundamental things we've got to clean up. Fundamentally we weren't a very good team Saturday.

"They're tired of losing to Pyramid. We want to get that taste out of our mouth. We're sick about it. We were embarrassed."

In Lake Mead, Virginia City should face a team that likes to play pressure, man defense as opposed to a Pyramid Lake team that likes to mix up its defenses. "There's not a lot of secrets left," Bucchianeri said.

Virginia City is led by the Lynch brothers, junior point guard Kevin and 6-3 senior center Kyle. Kevin and Kyle combined to scored just 10 points last Saturday and the Muckers will obviously need much more production from them if they are going to be successful at state.

Other key players include junior forward Mitch McDowell, junior Cory Dacha, junior guard Max Day, sophomore forward Andy Wilson, senior Mike Simons, juniors Chad Sprong and Zach Dotson and Nathan Adakai, who was brought up from the junior varsity.

Charles Whisnand is the Nevada Appeal Sports Editor. Contact him at or 881-1214.


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