Dust Devil, Lion teams make state
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Dayton High’s fifth straight trip to the 3A state tournament can be credited to a tremendous defensive effort .
The Dust Devils held Spring Creek to just 15 second-half points en route to a 49-35 win in the regional semifinals Friday night at Damonte Ranch High School.
It was the third win of the year over Spring Creek and vaulted the Dust Devils into today’s championship game against Yerington at 2 p.m. at Damonte Ranch.
“It’s definitely tough (to beat the same team three times),” Dayton coach TW Cunningham said. “We made some small adjustments from the last time we played them. We played more zone than the last time we played them.
“We played a great second half. We played good enough defense to survive in the first half.”
Dayton held Spring Creek to 5-for-19 from the field in the final 16 minutes, and although Tony Gill did finish with 18 points, he went 18-plus minutes without a point. He scored the Spartans’ last nine points, but the game was over by then.
“He’s their go-to guy,” Cunningham said of Gill. “Obviously we wanted to shut him down. We tried not to let him catch the ball.”
And, when Dayton couldn’t do that, Gill usually found himself surrounded by three defenders.
As Cunningham said, it’s a good thing his team played defense, because the offense went AWOL early. Dayton opened the game going 0-for-8 and turning the ball over three times.
“Give Spring Creek credit,” Cunningham said. “They were making everything tough.”
Spring Creek led the entire first quarter en route to a 13-9 lead, but two 3-pointers by Travis Wood (15 points) and a basket and two free throws by Erik Hopper enabled Dayton to regain the lead by halftime, 22-20.
Hopper opened the second half with two big 3-pointers to stretch Dayton’s lead to 28-20, but he went to the sidelines moments later when he picked up his fourth foul with 5:04 left.
“Erik has been our go-to guy all year,” Cunningham said. “I have to tell the kid to shoot the ball (more).”
Dayton didn’t make another field goal the rest of the quarter, but still maintained a 31-25 lead after three periods.
The lead stayed between eight and 10 points through the first four minutes of the final quarter, and then Dayton put the game out of reach with a nice 8-2 run to take a 48-32 lead, as Jacob Jones (9 points) drained three free throws and got loose for a lay-up.
Cunningham said it felt good to get this win over with, because today’s title game is just for seeding since both teams have already qualified. However, Cunningham does want to go into state with a victory.
“We have to keep Yerington off the boards,” Cunningham said. “They do a great job getting second shots, and they have guys that can shoot it.”
YERINGTON 62, LOWRY 56 OT
Yerington coach Daron Wildermuth told his team it would take some defensive stops and rebounding to hold off Lowry, and he was right.
After blowing a seven-point lead in the final three minutes of regulation, the Wildcats outscored the Buckaroos 7-0 in the final 1:49 of the extra period to advance to the state tourney for the third straight season.
“We’re blessed we ended up winning,” said Wildermuth, who watched Lowry’s David Walton send the game into overtime tied at 51 with a off-balance buzzer beater. “The fourth quarter and overtime we made some stops. Defense won for us.”
Lowry went ahead 56-55 with 1:49 left on a free throw by Ian Guinn. Marcus Kness (17 points) followed in a Casey Wildermuth miss to give the Wildcats a 57-56 lead with 1:04 remaining. After a Lowry turnover, Wildermuth was fouled and knocked down both shots for a 59-56 advantage.
Guinn misfired on Lowry’s next possession, and the Buckaroos were forced to foul. Garey Smith (14 points) hit one of two to make it a two-possession game at 60-56.
The missed free throws certainly kept the game closer than it should have been. In the fourth quarter and overtime, Yerington went 8-for-17 from the line.
“It was more frustration than anything else,” Wildermuth said. “It was a lack of concentration more than anything else.”
Trailing 50-49 with 49.1 left in the fourth quarter, David Martinez (11 points) missed the front end of a one-and-one situation. Kness hit one of two with 29.1 remaining for a 51-49 lead.
Lowry took a timeout after the made free throw, moved the ball in the frontcourt and called timeout again with 9.1 left. Guinn took a jump shot that bounced off the rim. Walton corralled the loose ball, and with the clock winding furiously toward zero, he lofted up a shot that went in a split-second before the buzzer.
“The kid (Walton) that made the shot knew the circumstances,” Wildermuth said. “He knew he had to get it up and out of his hands.”
Wildermuth was extremely pleased with the rebounding and inside play of both Martinez and James Roberts.
Martinez, who only had one rebound at the half, finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. Roberts finished with nine points and 12 rebounds. Both inside players keyed a 16-3 run in the third quarter that gave Yerington a 39-27 lead.
YERINGTON 67, LOWRY 60 OT
The third-seeded Wildcats blew a six-point lead in regulation, and then came from a one-point deficit in overtime to qualify for next weekend’s state tournament in Las Vegas.
Yerington will face Spring Creek today at noon for the championship.
Lowry’s Alicia Echeverria sent the game into the overtime period with 3.9 seconds left when she hit the front end of two free-throw attempts, tying the game at 57.
Lowry went ahead 60-59 with 2:15 left in the extra period, but failed to score again.
Dena Helme, who finished with 11 points, put Yerington ahead for good with a lay-up with 1:52 left. After a Lowry misfire, Helme worked her way inside for another lay-up to make it 63-60. Karrie-Ann Quartz, who led Yerington with 25 points, sealed the outcome with two free throws to give the Wildcats a five-point lead with 36.8 left.
Kayla Lommori led Yerington with 14 points. Echeverria scored 14 in a losing effort.