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Colts shoot down Railroaders
by Dan Eckles
Dec 22, 2012 | 2315 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Sparks Railroaders probably walked out of the Wooster High gym Saturday afternoon feeling like they'd let a win slip away. It certainly seemed that way to SHS fans after they watched the Railroaders drop their final game in the Rail City Classic, 65-57, to Wooster.

Sparks scored the first bucket of the fourth quarter, a layup by senior forward DJ Devine. That gave the Railroaders a 49-38 edge a minute into the final period.

From there, not much went right for Sparks. Wooster ripped off 12 straight points to go up 50-49. It was the Colts first lead of the second half.

Sparks answered with a pair of Keiffer Putman free throws to re-take the lead 51-50, at the 3:56 mark of the fourth. However, that was the Railroaders' last lead of the game.

The tournament tilt was still knotted at 53-53 a minute later, but Wooster pulled away from there.

The Colts took a 59-53 lead after back-to-back 3-pointers. The long-range jumpers capped a spurt where the WHS crew buried four treys in less than two minutes.

Sparks was forced to play the foul-and-hope game in the last minute of the contest and it watched Wooster connect on six straight foul shots, securing the win for the Reno school.

"I think we had about an 11-point lead there and we lost that game," Sparks coach Dan Schreiber said. "We kind of gave it to them and more from the emotional side. Our kids started to emotionally lose it. I'm not sure if it was playing five games in four days or what, but we definitely crumbled.

"If I had the answer for teenagers, I'd be a millionaire, but ultimately each possession wasn't as important to us as we needed it to be."

Sparks led 21-14 after the first quarter and 29-22 at the half.

In the third period, Sparks put together an 11-3 outburst at one point. Devine wrapped up that run by making 1-of-2 free throws with 1:26 to go in the third period. That saw Sparks forge ahead 47-35, but in the end it did not faze Wooster.

Wooster canned 12 3-pointers in the game, including four in the fourth period when it posted 27 points to overtake Sparks.

"They were pretty hot from three," Schreiber said. "We got out and challenged them. We had hands in faces but they got hot and nailed a lot of threes. In return, we couldn't finish. We got some good looks and they weren't falling."

Putman scored 13 and Devine 12 to lead the Sparks offense in defeat.

With hosting duties for the four-day RCC done, Sparks (5-6) will prep to play Wooster again, Dec. 28 in a non-league road affair at 1 p.m.

"The tournament was great for us," Schreiber said, after watching his team go 2-3 in the event. "I've said since Nov. 16 our schedule is set up to exploit our weaknesses. By no means are we going to walk into a gym and be the favorite right now. The schedule was set up that way on purpose. By February, we'll know what we need to work on. Our kids are starting to understand what we want to do.

"We're going to be a good team when league comes around. We're going to be very tough."

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