For the Sparks girls basketball team, that was the case Thursday evening, as it committed 35 turnovers en route to a 56-34 loss to visiting South Tahoe in season-opening 3A Mount Rose League action.
“The game was really rough, really rough,” Sparks assistant coach Sierra Shaw said. “I’m not sure what the disconnect was from two days ago, when we played Dayton, to today is, but we need to get our heads in the game. It was really, rough tonight.”
From the opening tip, the Railroaders began digging their own hole.
Handing the ball over on consecutive possessions, Sparks could do little as it watched the visiting Vikings take full advantage of its mistakes. Jumping out to an 11-5 lead with 4:40 to play in the opening quarter, South Tahoe ripped off 12 straight points to pull away to a 23-5 lead at the end of the first. Within the initial six minutes of the game, the Railroaders turned the ball over 15 times, almost double the amount of shots (8) they took.
The displeasing showing on the court was unsuitable in the eyes of Shaw.
“Unacceptable,” Shaw said. “The number of turnovers was more than the number of points that we actually scored. It’s completely unacceptable.”
After the abysmal first quarter, Sparks cleaned up its play a little bit. However, the damage done was too significant.
Down by 18 points to begin the second quarter, Sparks slowly chipped away at the Vikings’ lead. With 1:07 left until halftime, Railroaders guard Krystal Parker nailed an NBA-range trey to slice the South Tahoe advantage to 29-19. That was the closest Sparks would come as Vikings guard Bailey David hit two quick buckets to halt any potential comeback. The teams went into the intermission with South Tahoe up 34-22.
Out of the half, it looked as though the Railroaders were giving an encore presentation of their play in the first quarter.
Sparks turned the ball over five times in the first 1:25 of the third, allowing Vikings guard Brooke King to put six fast points on the scoreboard and push the lead to 40-22. South Tahoe then extended its lead over 30 points on another steal and layup by King, closing out the third at 50-29.
The pace slowed for the remainder of the contest as both teams went cold shooting and the Railroaders cut down their turnovers.
Sparks finished the game 14-of-49 shooting (28.6 percent). Parker led the Railroaders with 19 points, including knocking down four from beyond the arc.
On the South Tahoe side, David and King finished with 22 points and 12 points, respectively.
For the Railroaders, the lackluster effort raises a lot of concern and plenty of questions that need to be answered.
“I’m looking for a little more heart, a little more dedication, because I’m not sure there was any of that tonight,” Shaw said. “I don’t know what more we can do. If they don’t listen, we can’t do anything about it. It does reflect on us as coaches though. Practice tomorrow will definitely be a little interesting.”
Sparks will try to redeem itself when it faces Fernley Tuesday at 6 p.m.