Sparks fell behind by 26, 52-26, at halftime Thursday and could never overcome the deficit. The Railroaders did turn in a better performance in the second half, but it was far too little too late.
“”We didn’t play well in the first half,” Sparks co-head coach Mike Jones said. “We dug ourselves a hole. Their effort was a lot stronger in the first half. We matched them in the second half but I don’t know that we outplayed them. They held their own and did what they needed to do.”
The Railroaders implemented some full-court pressure to start the second half and it paid off as Sparks cut Incline’s lead in half by the end of the third period, 67-54.
The SHS crew did trim the Incline lead to single digits with the final nine-point margin, but Sparks was never closer than that and could not throw a serious scare into its hosts from the Lake.
Martin Jordan buried five 3-pointers and finished with 24 points for Sparks.
Sparks fell to 1-1 in conference clashes and 7-4 overall. Incline continues its impressive start to the winter campaign, improving to 11-1 overall. Thursday’s tilt was the Highlanders’ first league affair.
“It was a great first half for us,” Incline coach Brian Broadbus said. “Our team defense was better than it has been all season. Then in the second half, to be honest, I think some of our players played so hard in the first half, we kind of burned out. But you have to give Sparks credit. They never gave up and we needed to do better against their press.”
Sparks will play its first league home game Saturday against Fallon at 3:30 p.m.
Sparks had a realistic chance to score its first victory of the winter going to the fourth quarter, but could not steal the road win. Incline captured a 48-35 triumph, but Sparks gave its hosts all they could handle for three quarters.
The visiting Railroaders trailed by just two, 35-33, after three periods, but fell apart from there. Incline outscored Sparks 13-2 in the final quarter and was not threatened down the stretch.
Krystal Parks scored 11 points to lead Sparks.
Tori McCunn led all scorers, finishing with 20 for Incline.
Sparks plays again Saturday at home against Fallon. Tipoff is 2 p.m.
- Special thanks to Sylas Wright of the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza -