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Dayton boys fall short against ROP

Nevada Appeal Staff Reports

ROP Rams and Dayton Dust Devils

Dave Price

DAYTON – It was no secret that the Dayton High School boys basketball team wanted to slow down the tempo for its game against Northern 3A-leading Rite of Passage. Unfortunately for the Dust Devils, their own offense was too slow getting out of the gate and Rite of Passage ran off with a 71-67 victory on Friday night.

The Dust Devils fell behind 11-0 in the opening seven minutes and they wound up having to play catchup the rest of the way as the Rams posted a win that improved their league record to 4-0 (10-2 overall).

“We try to respect everyone and fear no one, but we knew coming in they have a real good squad and I just think we were too tentative at the start of the game,” Dayton coach Rob Streeter said.

Before it was all over, Dayton battled back and tied the score in the fourth quarter, but ROP had enough gas left in the tank to hang on for its win.

“This was a tough game. It’s always tough to come in here and play because you always know coach Streeter and his kids are going to come out ready to play,” ROP coach Eric Jordan said.

Dayton’s game plan coming in was to slow down an ROP offense that has put up some big numbers so far this season, including an impressive 82-39 league win against Yerington on Wednesday.

“They’ve been scoring in the 80s and 90s, so we wanted to slow it down,” Streeter said.

The Dust Devils simply couldn’t get their shots to fall early against ROP’s tenacious 1-3-1 zone defense, as they trailed 15-4 at the end of the first quarter and 30-19 at halftime.

“We were getting good shots. They were pretty much the same shots we were getting in the second half, except they started falling. We even managed to pull them out of their zone, which was one of the things we wanted to do,” Streeter said.

Specifically, the Dust Devils began connecting on their shots from beyond the arc. Adam Diament buried a 3-pointer from the left corner as the Dust Devils pulled to within 47-40 at the end of the third quarter. Ryan Blaver fired in a 3-pointer from the right corner to make it 49-43 early in the fourth and then hit another to make it 51-49. Zane Walker assisted on each of those shots.

Blaver’s two free throws tied the score at 53-53 with 5:06 remaining and he came up with a loose ball on the defensive end moments later, only to have the takeaway nullified by a foul call.

“Instead of having the ball with a shot to take the lead, they came out of there with two free throws. That was huge,” Streeter said.

Devin Barefield sank both of his free throws to give the lead back to ROP, 55-53 with 4:58 showing on the clock. Every time Dayton scored the rest of the way, the Rams answered with points of their own – largely due to the presence of Barefield. The backbreaker was applied with one minute to go when Barefield rejected a shot on the defensive end, recovered the loose ball and then fed a pass on the fast break to point guard Kevin Deshields for a layup.

“Devil Barefield is our answer,” Jordan said of the 6-foot-4, 220-pound senior post player, who finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds. “He’s a tremendous player, and in particular, his free throws were huge for us tonight. He was 11-for-13 from the line; if he misses half of those shots, we lose the game.”

Equally impressive was Deshields, who scored a game-high 26 points and handed out six assists.

Ryan Blaver came off the bench to score 20 points for Dayton, nine in the fourth quarter. Adam Diament scored 18 while Matt Bowman contributed 12 points, including a pair of 3 balls. Diament also grabbed nine rebounds as part of a solid all-around performance.

Last year at this time, Dayton was off to a 4-0 start in league in a season that culminated with a trip to the 3A state tournament championship game. The Dust Devils are now 0-2 (3-6 overall), but Streeter was in an upbeat mood about the team’s effort afterward.

“I’m proud of these kids; they played extremely hard tonight,” said Streeter, whose Dust Devils were coming off a tough 64-61 loss to Fernley on Wednesday. “After being down 11-0 , we came back and tied it at one time. That’s a credit to our kids for staying with the game plan and never giving up.”

The Dust Devils host Lyon County rival Yerington today. The varsity girls play at 1 p.m., followed by the boys game at 2:30.