Dayton teams open bball season tonight
When the Dayton High boys basketball team lines up against Lovelock for its season-opening contest tonight, you really would need a scorecard to recognize the players.
Two of the teams most experienced players — Brian Blocker and Jason Walker — are no longer in the program. Blocker moved and is now at South Tahoe, and Walker decided not to come out for the team this year. The loss of Blocker, who averaged 11 points a game last year, is a big blow. He was especially effective against zone defenses and in the open court.
That leaves coach Jason Santos, whose team went 4-18 last season, with a plethora of inexperienced players and virtually no size. The tallest player is 6-foot-3 Jonathan Ply followed by 6-1 Tyler Peterson and Blake Fletcher, who quarterbacked Dayton’s football team this past fall.
Dayton has five seniors — 6-foot guard Josh Riders, 5-10 forward Marcos Leon, 6-foot forward Trevor Burrows, Peterson and 5-8 guard Treston Fowler. Fletcher, 6-foot forward Carson Crosby, 5-10 guard Weston Hill and Ply are the junior players. Chase Peterson, a 5-7 guard, is the only sophomore on the squad.
Santos pointed out that this year’s squad isn’t that much smaller than last year’s team, but the lack of size presents problems on how to attack and defend teams when Dayton will usually be at a disadvantage size-wise.
“We’re going to attempt to run and try to score in transition,” Santos said. “I don’t know honestly how that is going to go. We also could play a slower game.
“We scrimmaged at Whittell, and we got to see a lot of what we can do. I’m still not sure if we’ll be able to play up temp or not.”
Santos likes to play man-to-man, but he already knows that won’t be possible, especially once he gets into league play.
“We’ll have to play a lot of zone,” he said. “We’re not going to be able to match up with anybody. South Tahoe goes 6-8, 6-4 and 6-3. Fallon has a big team, too. We have to play zone and trap. We have to play a strong zone defense.”
Santos expects a tough game tonight.
“Lovelock is extremely athletic,” he said. “They have really strong guards (William Gattrell and Marcus Nester) who are very athletic.” Gattrell averaged 15 a game last year while Nester averaged around 8 a contest.
Girls look for improvement
Kelly Frantz, who starts her second season as varsity head coach, returns six players from her squad which went 2-21 last year.
The Dust Devils host Lovelock today at 6 p.m.
“We are very young,” Frantz said. “We took two weeks off after last season and then started having open gyms. We are much more cohesive as a group than we were last year. The girls are buying into what we’re doing. We’re better prepared to start the season.”
Young doesn’t begin to describe the Dust Devils, who have just one senior on the team. Angela Sikora is a good one, however. She averaged 14 points a contest and scored more than half of Dayton’s points last year. She also pulled down five rebounds per game.
Frantz has five juniors — 5-4 guard Kayla Celedon, 5-5 guard Reilly Gibson, 5-3 guard Makayla Olsen (2.6 ppg) , 5-2 guard Jessie Ingham (0.9 ppg) and 5-8 center Kristina Mason (1.3 ppg, 3 rpg). The sophomore group is led by 5-4 guard Abby Sikora (0.5), 5-7 forward Cassie Dickenson (0.5) and 5-6 guard Elora Neep. Alexa McGill-Howe is the only freshman on the team.
Frantz’s big job is to find other scoring to complement the 5-7 Sikora, who is likely to draw a lot of attention this season.
Abby Sikora and Neep, according to Frantz, are expected to do some scoring. Mason also should be able to improve offensively given another year of varsity experience.
“In the offseason, Abby really developed her shot,” Frantz said. “She just has to get it off quicker. She has to have confidence with her shot. Elora can shoot the ball, too. Those three may score most of our points.
“We have to play fast, and we have to beat teams down the floor and score early (in possessions) every opportunity we have. We have a quick team, and we need to use that.”
Frantz is a realist. She knows nothing is going to change overnight. She is in it for the long haul, and she wants to get her players playing more and more basketball because she knows it’s the only way they are going to get better.
“I’m trying to build a program,” she said. “I want to get our numbers up. We don’t have a freshman team again, and that’s disappointing. I want to work on getting more kids interested in playing basketball.”