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Sparks boys basketball drops two in Rail City Classic
by Nathan Shoup
Dec 11, 2013 | 948 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Sparks senior Isaiah Campbell elevates in the lane as a West Wendover opponent flies in to defend the action during Wednesday's tournament tilt.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Sparks senior Isaiah Campbell elevates in the lane as a West Wendover opponent flies in to defend the action during Wednesday's tournament tilt.
Wednesday was a tough day for the Sparks boys basketball team as it dropped to 0-4 on the season, falling to West Wendover and Damonte Ranch, on its home floor, in the first night of the Rail City Classic.

Damonte Ranch 63, Sparks 18

Sparks was sluggish in the nightcap of Wednesday’s doubleheader and never threatened the visiting Mustangs en route to the lopsided non-league loss.

Damonte Ranch (2-2) led 12-1 after the first quarter and outscored the Railroaders 28-15 in the second quarter to take a 40-16 lead into the half.

“I think we started slow because we played 32 minutes, earlier,” Sparks coach Dan Schreiber said. “We just really couldn’t find a rhythm. Their pressure caused a lot of problems in the backcourt for us and partly due to fatigue. We really were tired.”

Kevin Borja’s seven-foot jumper with 3:40 left in the fourth quarter, with a running clock, provided Sparks’ only points of the second half. Borja finished with five points.

Damonte Ranch’s Brett Cooper led all scorers with 18 points, all of which came in the first half. With his squad up 19-5 in the second quarter, Cooper hit three 3-pointers in less than two minutes to push the Mustangs’ lead to 27-6.

Isaiah Campbell assumed his typical position as the Railroaders’ leading scorer with 10 points.

“Like we told the kids, take the negative and turn it into a positive. We know what we are capable of doing,” Schreiber said. “You have to use that approach because they have to see what their lowest point is. We’re capable of playing pretty bad so we need to take that and move forward from it … It’ll be that constant reminder we’ll use as ‘remember when.’”

Free throws have been an issue for Sparks in the early going of the season and Wednesday’s nightcap was no different. The Railroaders hit only 9-of-18 attempts from the charity stripe.

“Free throws, we struggled again and that’s a tired thing. You get up to the line and your legs aren’t there and you're short or you’re off to the left or right,” Schreiber said. “They (Damonte) are bigger and more physical but our preseason is designed that way. When we get into league, we’ll see a little bit better matchups.”

West Wendover 53, Sparks 50

The Railroaders were unable to capitalize on a number of late opportunities and allowed a bucket with less than 10 seconds to break a 50-50 tie in a loss in their first game of the Rail City Classic.

“It was a very winnable game. We just didn’t take care of the ball when we needed to,” Schreiber said.

Campbell led all scorers with 18 points (12 from behind the arc).

Sparks was once again unable to take advantage of opportunities from the free-throw line, connecting on just 1-of-8 freebies.

“You get close games like that and you go back to those things (missed free throws) and it’s not one play or one kid or one anything,” Schreiber said. “It’s just collectively you start looking at all the stats, put it together, and you can kind of draw a picture.”

Kylar Sharp led West Wendover with 12 points, including five in the decisive fourth quarter.

The Railroaders host Wooster Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and will play the third-place finisher in the three-team pool (Reed, Wooster, Placer) once the double-elimination bracket starts Friday.

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