Dayton boys falter in fourth quarter
SPARKS – Dayton High’s inexperience and lack of composure reared its ugly head Saturday afternoon, costing the Dust Devils a game they should have won easily.
Trailing 46-32 with 7:34 left in the game, Spanish Springs outscored Dayton 22-6 down the stretch and got a game-winning putback from Casey Rodela to grab a thrilling 54-52 nonleague boys’ basketball victory.
The tie snapped a 52-all deadlock created by Travis Wood 22 seconds earlier. Dayton took a timeout after the basket, and Spanish Springs set up for the last shot. Randy Perkins got the ball down in the key and kicked it out to Thomas Farmer, whose jump shot hit the rim and bounced off the backboard. Rodela came flying in from near the foul line to follow the ball in.
It was a complete meltdown by the Dust Devils, who dropped to 7-2. Dayton turned the ball over nine times in the fourth quarter alone against the Cougars’ defensive pressure and went 2-for-9 from the field. And, to make matters worse, Dayton played without leading scorer Trent Wood for the final four-plus minutes.
“We lost our focus,” Dayton coach Rob Streeter said. “We let things get to us. Shots weren’t falling and we didn’t get some calls we thought we should have gotten. We didn’t execute (down the stretch). They were jump-switching a lot of our screens. We have counters to that, but we weren’t executing them. We were allowing their pressure to get to us.
“Spanish Springs played its butt off. They deserved to win. Trent (Wood) is a big part of our offense. When he wasn’t out there we became apprehensive. When he’s not out there, we have only three kids that played on the team last year.”
Wood scored all 10 of his points in the first half. He missed the final four minutes of the first half when he picked up his third foul, and he missed the last five minutes of the third quarter when he picked up his fourth foul. Nobody seemed willing or able to pick up the scoring slack in the second half.
“We played a lot harder defensively (the second half),” Spanish Springs head coach Gary Hogan said. “We took them out of their comfort zone.
“We were trying to hold the ball for one shot (on the game-winning possession). We wanted to get the ball to the high post and spread it out so we could either get a basket or get to the foul line. We were really lackluster in the first half. We played with very little enthusiasm.”
Conversely, Dayton played a tremendous first half, shooting 51 percent from the field in building a 31-16 lead at the intermission.
The Dust Devils went on a 13-0 run to take a 28-10 lead with 3:18 left in the first half. Six different Dust Devils contributed to the run, led by Danny Hopper’s four free throws and three points by Travis Wood (16 points).
Spanish Springs scored six straight points, slicing the deficit to 28-16, but a hook by Josh Aaker and a free throw by Doug Strobel got the halftime lead to the aforementioned 15 points.
“I was very happy with the first half, and even early in the third period,” Streeter said.
Spanish Springs went 8-for 16 from the field in the third quarter, yet still trailed 44-32. Aaker opened the fourth quarter with two free throws to make it 46-32, setting the stage for the Dust Devils’ demise.
Doug Williams, who scored only two points through the first three quarters, spearheaded the comeback with 10 fourth-quarter points. He scored on back-to-back possessions to make it 48-41 with 4:14 left.
In the next 80 seconds, Dayton missed the front end of two one-and-one situations and turned the ball over five times. Spanish Springs capitalized on four of the miscues to take a 49-48 lead with 1:40 left, as Williams knocked down two foul shots and hit a bucket.
Dayton re-took the lead 50-49 on a Travis Wood basket, but that was its final lead of the game.
Contact Darrell Moody at email@example.com or 881-1281.