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Truckee roughs up Dayton boys

Justin Lawson
jlawson@nevadaappeal.com

DAYTON – After suffering a road loss in its previous game that some compared to a boxing match, the Dayton boys basketball team was ready to for the friendly confines of its own court. But with Truckee lined up opposite of it on Friday night, a soft game wasn’t on the menu.

While Dayton was able to contend with the Wolverines’ physicality for most of the game, it was the free throw line and easy lay-ins that plagued Dayton in the end.

The Dust Devils went 15-for-30 from the line as they fell to Northern 3A rival Truckee 64-52.

“We didn’t finish, we didn’t make layups or free throws … down the stretch it was huge,” said first-year Dayton coach Jason Santos. “We missed almost all of our free throws in the second half.”

Truckee’s physical play only sometimes was followed by a whistle as it amassed 23 fouls in the game. But the constant rain of boos from the crowd looking for a foul told more of the story.

“They bring the intensity all the time,” Santos said. “They’re always physical. That’s the way Truckee is.”

Dayton trailed 55-46 with 3 minutes, 9 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, but began to put pressure on the Wolverines’ offense. Truckee committed five turnovers in a 11⁄2 minutes and with 1:36 remaining when Connor Conroy dropped in a layup to pull Dayton within 55-51.

But in the remainder of the game, Dayton crumbled forcing bad passes and missing shots inside. Truckee hit all but one of its one of its eight free throws down the stretch and hit a three as part of a 10-1 run in the final 1:27.

“Well you know the last two minutes in a close game anything can happen,” Truckee coach Mike Hoehn said. “…It’s just a matter of playing smart basketball and weathering the storm. Weathering the storm and playing smart, that’s what I was hoping my kids would do.

“We wanted to come out strong tonight, that’s helped us.”

Early on the game, it appeared Dayton had a solid plan of attack by using a pump fake near the rim to force Truckee’s defenders in the air for an easy trip to the free throw line. But that plan only worked for the first quarter as Dayton was able knock down five its six attempts from the line. But in the second quarter the Dust Devils weren’t able to convert as they went 6-for-12 from the line.

Dayton had to play the game without one of its leading scorers and best free throw shooter in Chris Sikora. The senior guard had to sit out a one-game automatic suspension for being ejected out of Tuesday’s 78-58 loss at Sparks.

“I don’t know if they were tired or if they weren’t using their legs,” Santos said. “I don’t what was going on, but they sure didn’t make them.

“About three times a week we shoot 100 free throws, but we just didn’t make them. We didn’t finish layups; we executed inbounds plays down the stretch and then we missed. I don’t know, we were fighting for everything.”