Sparks jumped on top of the visitors from the opening tip, scoring the first 10 points of the contest. With Truckee struggling to find the basket through large chunks of the game, the Railroaders used that initial cushion and a dominating performance on the glass to coast to a 64-45 victory Saturday afternoon.
“We talked about controlling the offensive boards before the game and just getting out and contesting their shots,” Sparks coach Dan Schreiber said of the Railroaders' game plan. “We wanted to make sure we didn’t allow their big kids to get to the rim and rebound.
“We weren’t too worried about getting it out and running the fast break today. We just wanted to control the tempo and our main way to do that was to control the boards. Over the years, that’s the way Truckee has hurt teams, with second shots. We did a really good job of limiting their shot selection with the elimination of second shots.”
After grabbing the early 10-0 advantage three minutes into the contest, Sparks worked its way to a 20-8 edge by the end of the first quarter.
To start the second quarter, the Railroaders strung together a run similar to the one that began the game as they went on an 11-2 spurt over the first six minutes of the quarter. That left SHS up 31-10 before Sparks went into halftime with a 35-15 lead.
Out of the intermission, Sparks held its edge at 20 with 3:23 left in the third quarter as senior D.J. Devine scored his third straight bucket to bring the score to 44-24. A small rally by the Wolverines brought the margin to 48-31 with a quarter of play remaining.
In the final eight minutes, Sparks slammed shut the small window of hope Truckee had of any comeback. The Railroaders rattled off a 10-3 run to leave the scoreboard reading 58-34 with 4:12 left on the game clock en route to the eventual 64-45 victory.
Despite missing two key players from its regular lineup, Sparks did not skip a beat as all nine players chipped in to grab the win.
“It was a collective effort,” Schreiber said. “We ran all nine kids tonight and everybody got playing time. Everybody gave us a lift. This deep into the season, seeing that from a coaching standpoint is huge.
“It just gives the entire team more confidence. It gives me more confidence and it gives the kids more confidence. This was a big game. Nobody is overlooking Truckee. So for everybody to respond the way they did today, it just shows a real big sign of maturity and focus on what we have to do as a team to be successful.”
Devine led the effort with a double-double, including a game-high 21 points and 16 rebounds. Geo Vasquez and Mike Albior both added 11 points each on the night, with Albior also handing out seven assists. Bobby Brown tallied eight points.
Sparks (10-8, 4-2 Mount Rose) will return to the hardwood Tuesday at North Tahoe. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.
Coming off its first win of the season, the Sparks girls basketball team was looking for a repeat performance against Truckee. Unfortunately for the Railroaders, the visitors had other plans as the Wolverines took a 49-28 victory Saturday afternoon.
"We took two or three steps ahead last night and then we came back and took three steps back, so we’re right where we were before," Sparks coach Frank Avilla said. "It wasn’t from a lack of effort. We just have to play smarter and understand situations in the game. We have to take care of the ball. We gave them a lot of second opportunities.
"I think our composure got lost in transition as well and we made silly mistakes. There’s no secret we’re a work in progress. Katelynn Vandever got injured last night and now other kids have to step up. Hopefully we can get everyone on the same page and playing a little bit more aggressive. It looked like we were tired today."
After a quarter of play that left the Wolverines on top 11-8, Truckee broke the game up with a 14-3 run to start the second quarter. During the spurt, the Wolverines held Sparks scoreless for five minutes. The Railroaders closed out the first half with a small 7-3 burst to bring the score to 28-18 at halftime and keep the deficit reasonable.
However, the 10-point difference would prove to be small as the Wolverines ran away with the contest in a third quarter that saw Sparks score a single point. Before the Railroaders hit their lone free throw, Truckee added 16 points to its side of the scoreboard, leaving it ahead 44-19 at the end of the third. From there Truckee coasted to the 49-28 decision.
Sparks (1-10, 1-6 Mount Rose) was led in scoring by senior Krystal Parker who recorded nine points.
Sparks will now get set to play North Tahoe Tuesday at 6 p.m., when Avilla said he hopes to see a better performance from his team.
"I want to see an improvement in their confidence and an improvement in their aggressiveness overall with the game," he said. "I want to see them hustle a little bit more. I also want to see them play without a fear of failing. In sports, you have to be willing to fail in order to eventually succeed."