Dayton’s balance pays off
DAYTON — One thing Dayton basketball coach Jason Santos likes about his team is that everybody has the ability to contribute at the offensive end, and that was never more evident than Friday night against Owyhee.
Bernardo Macias and Steve Thompson led the way with 12 and 10 points respectively, but four other players scored eight or more points in Dayton’s 65-49 win in the second round of the Sutro Classic.
Dayton, 3-0, plays Douglas JV today at 9 at Dayton Valley Intermediate. The Dust Devils missed by one point of gaining the top seed. If Dayton wins at 9, it will play again at 12:30. A win there would put the Dust Devils in the championship game at 2 p.m.
“We have obviously have our better players like Austin Fletcher, Bernardo Macias and Steve (Thompson), but after that everybody else is pretty even and can contribute in their own way,” Santos said. “It’s nice to have. I don’t think I’ve ever had that here before. Usually there has been a drop-off after the top two or three players.”
Davis Winebarger contributed nine points, while Fletcher, Blake Blocker and Jon Joyner added eight points apiece.
Despite the offensive balance, it took a 17-6 run to start the second quarter, and a 13-2 run in the final 4:48 of the third quarter to put pesky Division IV Owyhee away for good.
Needless to Santos wasn’t thrilled by his team’s effort overall.
“It was sloppy all the way,” Santos said. “We weren’t getting to their shooters, we weren’t closing out. This was probably the worst of our three games. I thought we played a lot better the first two games.
“Probably, maybe we overlooked them. It was like we were in slow motion the whole game.”
Fletcher agreed with some of his coach’s statements.
“The first half we were not flying around on defense and causing turnovers,” he said. “The second half we did much better. I wasn’t overlooking them. All you have to do is look at the NCAA Tournament and the upsets there. They can shoot (the ball).”
Owyhee led 14-10 early, but Dayton went on an 18-3 run bridging the final 2:24 of the first period and the first four minutes of the second period to open up a 28-17 advantage.
Winebarger drained a 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds left to put Dayton up 15-14 after one, and the Dust Devils never trailed the rest of the way. Winebarger knocked down a jump shot to start the second quarter, and then Macias scored in the paint and Winebarger added a free throw to make it 20-14. After Skylon McKinney made a layup, Dayton went on an 8-1 tear thanks to a putback by Jeff Brooks, a bank shot by Marcos Saylor and a 3-pointer by Julio Meza. Owyhee briefly cut the deficit to single digits, 32-23 with 1:19 left in the half. Macias and Thompson each scored a hoop in the final 42 seconds of the half to make it 36-23.
The teams traded baskets in the first 3-plus minutes of the second half before the aforementioned 13-2 run which made it a 20-point game after three.
Much of the damage was done by Joyner, who scored all eight of his points in the final 4 1/2 minutes of the third period.
Macias didn’t get a lot of touches in the second half.
“They were collapsing a lot on him,” Santos said. “They were bringing help from the weak side and doubling down on him.”