DAYTON - What a difference a day makes.
On Friday, Maribel Ledezma was held scoreless by Lowry in a lopsided defeat. On Saturday, she scored a game-high 21 points to lead Dayton to a 55-43 win over Sparks in a Northern Division I girls basketball game.
"If a team shuts her down like Lowry did, we don't have somebody to come in and help," Dayton coach Cliff Serawop said. "She really stepped up today."
And, it was Ledezma dominating from the outset. She scored seven of Dayton's first 10 points and had nine of Dayton's 20 by the half, as the Dust Devils walked off the floor with a 20-17 lead.
Another big factor was Sparks' 10 turnovers which led to nine first-half points. Most of the turnovers came because of Dayton's press. Normally the Dust Devils are the ones being pressed and withering under the pressure. This time the Dust Devils were the ones dishing it out.
"In our losses, we didn't press," Serawop said. "We're going to change that. We're going to pressure more."
Sparks tied the game at 20 with 7:40 left in the third period. That's when Dayton went on a 13-0 run to open up a 33-20 lead. Five different players scored in the surge. Gemma Ramirez scored six points, Makaila Marshall had two free throws, while Lettie Lynch and Destinee Serawop had a basket apiece.
Dayton maintained that 13-point lead at the end of three quarters, and then the Dust Devils extended their advantage to 47-30 with 3:44 left in the game. Serawop started the surge with a basket and Ledezma added a putback and layup.
Serawop scored nine points, which was key because the Dust Devils played without Cheyenne Strong who suffered an ankle injury against Lowry.
"This is the first game she's stepped up offensively," coach Serawop said regarding his daughter's play. "Cheyenne is one of our top scorers so with her out we need people to step up and Destinee stepped up today."
It was Dayton's second win of the season, and a pretty big one at that according to coach Serawop. He pointed out that Sparks and Dayton could be battling for the eighth and final playoff spot.
"We'd like to be seventh and not eighth,'' Serawop said. "It may come down to how we do against Fallon and Fernley."
Sparks 59, Dayton 43
DAYTON - Inconsistency has plagued Dayton all season, and Saturday it reared its ugly head again.
After taking a 22-21 halftime thanks to a strong second quarter, Sparks outscored Dayton 10-0 in the first five minutes of the third quarter en route to an easy victory.
It was the second loss of the week for the Dust Devils, who lost 66-27 to Lowry on Friday.
"We came out flat in the second half," Dayton coach Jason Santos said. "I don't know if we were tired or not. We were throwing lazy passes and we had no intensity. It just snowballed."
Trailing 22-21, Keiffer Putman scored on a layup and Bobby Brown scored two straight buckets to make it 27-22 with 6:24 left in the third. Each team went the next five possessions without scoring, but a putback by Brown and a shot in the key by Kevin Borja enabled Sparks to end the 10-point run for a 31-22 lead with 3:05 left. Sparks ended the third quarter with a 37-25 lead.
Dayton opened the fourth quarter with six straight points, four by Jayson Fraser on a 3-pointer and a free throw, to close the gap to 37-31. However, Sparks responded with a 9-3 run to take a 46-34 advantage with 4:50 remaining. Dayton never got closer than 11 the rest of the way.
The high point for the Dust Devils came in the first three minutes of the second quarter when Dayton went on a 10-2 run to take a 19-17 lead with 5:40 left. Jesse Evans (12 points) started the surge with a 3-pointer, Fraser followed with a free throw, and Steve Thompson Jr. added a lay-up to complete a 6-0 run.
After a putback by Brown, Bernardo Macias scored two straight buckets for a two-point lead. Sparks tied the game at 19, and then Evans hit another 3-pointer to make it 22-19 before Sparks scored to make it 22-21.
"Jesse hit some shots; a couple of 3s for us" Santos said. "Bernardo scored a couple of baskets, too. They were worried about Bernardo."
Cunningham wins title
Alex Cunningham won the 145-pound title at the Carson JV tournament Saturday at Morse Burley Gym.
Four other wrestlers placed at the event.
Brian Castillo was second at 120, Matt McCarthy was third at 126 and John Artz was fourth at 126. Elijiah Fajayan was third at 145.