Lowry shoots Dayton out of share for league lead
DAYTON — Dayton had the size, home court advantage and a share of the Northern 3A boys basketball lead. But Lowry countered with quickness, stamina and some newfound fortune down the stretch to pick off a 57-52 victory against the Dust Devils Saturday afternoon.
Joe Robinson and Brian Watterson combined to score 37 points as the Buckaroos from Winnemucca won a game that kept them in the thick of what has developed into a four-team horse race in the Northern 3A.
“This is the most parity I’ve seen in the league in my three years,” Dayton coach Rob Streeter said. “It’s just a matter of who’s going to play better on a given night, and tonight it was Winnemucca.”
Dayton (5-1, 10-6) lost at home for only the second time this season and dropped out of a first-place tie with Bishop Manogue in the league standings. Lowry (3-2, 7-8) remained in the hunt midway through a season in which it has lost three games on buzzer beaters, including a 63-62 overtime heart breaker at home against Manogue on Jan. 10.
“To get a win on the road, this was huge for us,” Lowry coach Chad Peters said. “Dayton has a great ball team. They’re big boys, so we just wanted to get out and run and press and see if we could take advantage of our quickness. And I think we may have been able to wear them down a little in the second half.”
Dayton led 30-28 at halftime, only to see the Buckaroos score 10 unanswered points at the outset of the third quarter.
“Watterson comes out and hits a 3 and then (Gavin) Owsley hits another 3 the next time down,” Streeter said. “I thought that kind of set the tone for the second half.”
Dayton answered with a 9-0 run of their own as Jake Deen knocked down a 3-pointer and scored on a putback, while Brian Lahmann scored four points as the Dust Devils regained the lead, 39-38. Jesse Zamudio’s 12-footer with 2:50 left in the third quarter put the Buckaroos ahead to stay.
Lowry extended its lead to 46-39 at the end of the quarter and 54-44 with 2:27 left to play.
Lahmann drove for a basket and drew a foul for a three-point play that brought Dayton back to 54-47 with 1:42 showing on the clock. At that point, Streeter substituted his second unit into the game to foul and send Lowry to the free throw line. The Dust Devils fouled three times before Dylan Morris picked off an inbounds pass, but they were unable to convert the break into points.
“We knew they’ve struggled at the free throw line and we had some guys in foul trouble and that group came in and did exactly what they were supposed to do,” Streeter said. “We gave ourselves a chance to win, unfortunately we weren’t able to score any points in that situation.”
Watterson’s two free throws pushed the Lowry lead to 56-49 with 53.1 seconds left and then the senior guard sank one of two from the line to male it 57-49. Lowry shot 9-for-19 from the line overall, but those three points were certainly welcome.
“It’s about time,” Peters said with a smile. “Free throws have been our stitch in the past, but Brian hit those shots and kind of sealed the deal for us.”
Dayton was led offensively by Lahmann with 16 points, eight of which came in the fourth quarter. Deen finished with 13 and point guard Matt Bowman had 10, all in the first half.
Robinson led all scorers with 20 points for Lowry, 15 in the first half. Watterson finished with 17 points, including four 3-pointers.
“We weren’t able to keep track of Watterson and we couldn’t keep Robinson off the boards,” Streeter said. “We played hard, but they made some big plays so give credit to them.”