Fernley boys fall to Spring Creek
Appeal News Service
RENO – Rebounding can create golden opportunities such as scoring on second and third chances or even igniting a fast break down the length of the floor.
The fourth-seeded Spring Creek boys’ basketball team executed that strategy to perfection and muscled out a 70-46 win over fifth-seeded Fernley in the first round of the Northern 3A playoffs at Damonte Ranch.
“That’s our stronger point if we can get our big guys some touches,” Spartans coach Corey Thacker said.
Spring Creek will face top-seeded Dayton (16-0 in league) tonight at 8 p.m. with the winner advancing to Saturday’s championship against either Lowry, a 49-40 winner over Incline, or Yerington. Fernley, though, ends the season at 8-9 after losing 37 straight league games the last three seasons.
Post players Tony Gill (6-foot-5) and Drew Johnson (6-3) created havoc in the paint by scoring 16 and 15 points, respectively. Shooting guard Mikey Adams knocked down two 3-pointers to finish with 12 points.
“They had to change their defense (in the second half),” Thacker said. “We got inside and attacked the rim.”
The Spartans’ rebounding led to multiple chances to score underneath, which Gill and Johnson took advantage, especially in the second half when Spring Creek outscored Fernley 40-21. Spring Creek led 30-25 at halftime after Fernley’s Travis McCurry hit a running jumper as time expired.
“It was one of those areas, once again, we had to contain,” Vaqueros coach Dave Burns said about rebounding. “That was the biggest point of the game. They played physical.”
Spring Creek prevented any Fernley players from scoring in double figures.
Jake Lavoie and McCurry each scored a team-high eight points, and Matt Zumoff added six. McCurry nailed two 3-pointers, and Jacob Lehman had one to finish with five points. Branden Dalton also finished with five points.
Thacker said he was satisfied with the defense but wants it to be more consistent, especially when Spring Creek plays Dayton tonight.
“They’ve had some big wins against us,” Thacker said. “If you want to win a championship, then you have to beat everybody. We need to play 32 minutes of solid defense.”
Burns said Spring Creek used intense pressure and tough defense to open its biggest lead in the third quarter at 18 points before erupting for 22 fourth-quarter points.
“They played hard-nose, man-to-man defense in the second half,” Burns said. “They put an extreme amount of pressure on the ball. It eventually took its toll in the second half.”
The Vaqueros opened the game with a 5-0 lead, but the Spartans generated a longer run of their own. Spring Creek scored 11 unanswered points and finished the first quarter with an 18-12 lead.
Spring Creek had the first half’s biggest lead at eight points with 1:24 left before Sean Arrington and McCurry cut it to 30-25.