Sending the basketball into the post early and often, SHS built itself a comfortable lead against Incline in its final match-up of the Capital Classic. When the Railroaders weren’t going to work down low, Sparks’ senior Keiffer Putman was making the Highlanders pay from the outside as the Railroaders coasted to a 59-49 victory.
I think this was the first time this year after our fourth game that the kids really started to understand how the offense works,” Sparks head coach Dan Schreiber said. “I think today they saw that the offense has looks both in and out. So if the other team sags and they try to take away the post, your shooters have set shots. If the other team extends on the shooters, we’re able to post up one-on-one. I think the kids really saw the light bulb click on with that today.”
After one quarter of play Sparks (2-2) held an 11-7 advantage. The four-point deficit would be the closest the Highlanders would get to the Maroon and Gold the rest of the way.
Clamping down on the defensive side of the ball and turning that momentum into offense, Sparks ripped off a 17-1 run over the first four minutes of the second quarter to take a 28-8 lead. As the Highlanders began to sag defensively in order to take away the Railroaders’ inside game, Sparks took advantage of the space available beyond the three-point line. Putman knocked down three straight triples during the run to hand SHS the 20-point edge.
Following Putman’s 3-point shooting display, Incline moved its pressure back out beyond the arc, allowing senior forwards D.J. Devine and Bobby Brown to resume their work in the paint as they recorded a pair of field goals each to leave the Railroaders ahead 37-23 at halftime.
“Now that they’ve seen how our offense can work and how it is meant to work, now we can start adding wrinkles to it,” Schreiber said. “Now we can add situationals to it so now if the other team starts cheating different things, we can call different things to exploit that cheat. We really had to have a foundation of the offense and how it works first and then we can add those wrinkles that can make it pretty interesting.”
In the second half the Highlanders could not muster a comeback effort as Sparks answered any Incline score with a bucket of its own. In the third quarter, the two sides traded scores on 10 consecutive possessions as Sparks managed to maintain its lead with SHS holding a 48-35 advantage with a quarter left to play en route to the 59-49 victory.
Putman’s hot hand from 3-point land knocked down five treys as he finished the game with 17 points, as well as four assists. Brown recorded 15 points and six rebounds in the contest, while Devine tallied 11 points and six rebounds also.
Sparks will now take on Lowry at home Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Coming off a game in which Reed coach Dustin Hall said his team struggled defensively and didn’t execute on the offensive side of the court, the Raiders were looking for a bounce back effort Saturday against Damonte Ranch. Unfortunately for the Blue and Gold, Hall was left with the same concerns as the Mustangs took a 64-53 decision over Reed.
“We keep talking about having active hands and kind of anticipating swing passes and just being a little more active all around, but we we're still slow to get everywhere tonight,” Hall said. “We weren’t getting hands up. We were slow to rotate. You have to give them credit, they knocked down some outside jumpers, but we need to work harder.”
Reed (1-3) kept things close through the first quarter as DRHS held a slim 15-12 lead after eight minutes of play, but things began to open up for the Mustangs in the second quarter.
After extending its lead to 21-18 at the midway point of the second, Damonte caught fire from deep as it knocked down four 3-pointers in a row to close out the first half ahead 35-24.
The Mustangs’ lead remained at double-digits three minutes into the third quarter, but with the score at 39-29, a comeback was still manageable for the Raiders. Those possibilities were soon dashed as Damonte ended the third quarter on a 11-4 spurt that left Reed down 50-33.
In the fourth quarter, the Raiders could not trim the deficit below 15 points until there was not enough time left to rally back with just 1:57 on the game clock and the score at 62-45. Reed finished the contest with eight unanswered points, but the game had already been decided.
The Raiders were led in scoring by Alonzo Vega, who had 15 points on the evening. Trae Wells also notched 10 points while Deyraun Stamps added nine.
Reed will look to turn things around at Hug Tuesday with the game scheduled for 7 p.m.
“This team right now lacks an identity,” Hall said. “Defensively, we’re not there. We have to get back to the drawing board and figure some things out defensively. It has to matter and we have to battle each possession. Right now we’re taking possessions off and it’s killing us right now. We’ll get back to the drawing board and we’ll figure something out.”