Dayton boys hammer Fernley |

Dayton boys hammer Fernley

Darrell MoodyNevada Appeal Sports Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

DAYTON ” The Dayton Dust Devils rode a stifling defense right into an opening round bye in the Northern Nevada 3A basketball playoffs.

The Dust Devils improved to 8-3 and clinched no worse than a tie for the regular-season championship with a 57-37 thrashing of Fernley before a packed house Wednesday night.

Dayton leads Sparks and Lowry by one full game with one to play. Dayton visits Sparks on Friday. If Dayton wins at Sparks on Friday, it will be the top seed. If Dayton loses and Lowry wins there would be a three-way tie for first. Dayton would own the tie-breaker over Lowry based on its season sweep.

“This was a big win,” said assistant coach Jason Santos, who was filling in for T.W. Cunningham, who was serving a one-game suspension for being kicked out of the game at Spring Creek last weekend in Elko. “If we had gone 0-2 this weekend we could have dropped down to third or fourth. This was a huge game for us.

“We locked (them) down with our man-to-man defense. We showed the diamond (defense) in flashes. We wanted to pressure their point guard (Cade Knutson) and we wanted to contain (Bryce) Baker as much as possible.”

With Jordan Harry and Miguel Olivas not in uniform, the Vaqueros had two less offensive threats on the floor. Knutson did finish with 10, while Baker managed only four points, all of them in the first quarter.

Fernley went 8-for-14 from the floor in the first half compared to 9-for-27 for the Dust Devils, who walked off the floor with a 24-16 lead. Dayton, thanks to 3-pointers by Connor Conroy (9 points) and Kage Walker (11 points), put together an 11-2 run in a four-minute span in the second quarter to take control at 20-10.

“We had a lot of good looks, especially in the first quarter,” Santos said. “We missed a lot of “bunnies”. If we had made some of those it would have been more interesting.”

Conroy, Walker and Wood were the only Dayton players to score in the first half, contributing seven. eight and nine points, respectively.

Dayton kept up the pressure at the outset of the second half, and the short-handed Vaqueros simply wilted.

Dayton scored eight straight points, three each by David Gomez and Nate Vonahsen, in the first 4 minutes 36 seconds of the third period to open up a 32-16 lead. Fernley went 0-for-3 and turned the ball over seven times in that span.

“Unfortunately they were very aggressive,” Fernley coach Dave Burns said. “They dictated everything. It didn’t help we were without a couple of starters. That was unfortunate. We didn’t handle the pressure well.”

“The pressure slowed them up,” said Wood, who contributed 12 points in the win. We tried to get after Knutson and Baker. They can hit big 3s.”

Dayton, which led 40-22 after three quarters, used an 11-5 run in the first half of the final quarters to boost its lead to 51-27, as six different players contributed as Santos went to his bench liberally in the final 16 minutes. Eli Tussing had two buckets in Dayton’s surge.


The Sparks varsity boys basketball team knocked off Yerington thanks to a 22-point second quarter.

Angel Guillen led the Railroaders with 24 points.

Michael Veil scored 11 points for Yerington. Sergio Cruz led the Lions with 20. Cruz made six 3-pointers on the night.

Tyler Crowl added 10 points. Yerington fell to 5-6 in 3A action and plays Fernley Friday.