DAYTON - The Dayton boys basketball team managed to hang on against a scrappy South Tahoe squad to claim a 46-44 win Tuesday night.
The win improves the Dust Devils record to 11-2. Dayton has now won nine straight at home. The Dust Devils travel to Elko on Friday.
Dayton jumped on top early, leading 15-11 after the first quarter. After a steal, Tyler Firestone converted a three-point play to give Dayton the lead 10-8 with 1:57 left in the first quarter. Another steal by Firestone, another foul on the layup, another made free throw and Dayton led 13-8. The Dust Devils increased the lead to nine at halftime, 26-17, before South Tahoe started to dial up the pressure in the second half.
The Vikings used a 1-3-1 trapping zone to create numerous Dayton turnovers, just as Dayton's trapping zone defense caused headaches for the Vikings. Neither team was able to work comfortably on offense, with turnovers coming nearly as often as baskets.
"It was a tough game," said Dayton coach Jason Santos. "That's a pretty good team. Their 1-3-1 half court trap gave us some problems.
"We were turning the ball over a little bit. We had guys in foul trouble, that was part of the problem."
The difference came down to free throws down the stretch. Dayton made 19 of 30 from the charity stripe. South Tahoe only got 19 attempts, sinking 10 of them.
The Dayton coach said an emphasis on free throws lately has greatly improved the Dust Devils.
"We made our free throws down the stretch, which is something that earlier we just were not doing ... everybody's stepping up and knocking them down," he said.
Marco Macias made seven of eight from the line, Adan Gomez, Firestone and Jake Koch each made four of six attempts to help seal the win for the Dust Devils.
Macias led Dayton with 11 points, while Firestone added 10 and Gomez scored eight. Kyle Onstott threw in six points in the second half coming off the bench.