The Railroaders (4-19, 4-12) topped Fallon (8-12, 7-8) on the road Friday night, 57-50, in their season finale. The win was Sparks’ second straight and third in five games.
“I think we are about three weeks short on it. We had what seven or eight games in league decided by one possession and then we finally figured it out and closed some games and really came to play,” Schreiber said. “Three weeks earlier and it I think it would be a completely different story of what’s going to happen next week (playoffs).”
Sparks held a 12-point lead with three minutes left before the Greenwave went on a run that closed the gap to a single point with a minute to go. They wouldn't grab the lead.
“It was a great atmosphere. The place was going crazy,” Schreiber said. “We had to call a couple timeouts to get the kids composed and they just finished.”
Isaiah Campbell made his final prep basketball game a memorable one, finishing with a team-high 29 points – 21 of which came from behind the arc.
“I think he ended his career on a high note,” Schreiber said. “He came to leave his career on the floor.”
Campbell was in a duel with Fallon’s Jeff Evett who scored 30.
Fallon started a tall lineup in attempt to outmuscle the undersized Railroaders.
“I think we gave up probably, this is not an exaggeration, a foot at every position. They started every big kid trying to put down our size a little bit… We don’t start anyone over 5-foot 11,” Schreiber said.
“We really just worked on clamping on their post game. Every time the ball would go to the post or high post we would double it and some situations get the triple team in. (We) forced them to kick it back out and shoot over us and that’s kind of been our thing all year.”
Sparks led 24-16 at the break and 41-28 going into the fourth quarter before hanging on in the final minute.
Schreiber said his group’s late-season success was the result of confidence gained in a 69-44 home loss to Elko Jan. 10 that was closer than the final score suggested.
“I think the big thing, I think we go all the way back to that home game against Elko and we were close, within nine with six minutes to go in the game,” Schreiber said. “Elko comes into the game with this mystique and here we are, the David and Goliath situation, and we’re sitting there hovering around a nine-point deficit and it’s like ‘well we can actually play this game.’ I think a lot of confidence grew from that game.”
Kevin Borja also reached double digits for the Railroaders, finishing with 13 points in the season finale.
“I’m just proud of these kids,” Schreiber said. “They fought all year long and took a lot of hits for their size. You can quote me on this, I don’t care, I’ll take some hits on this, but size does not matter. It just doesn’t. I think this group of kids shows it. They played a varsity schedule and they just left it on the floor.”
The Sparks girls (1-20, 1-15) did not fare as well as the boys Friday night at Fallon (14-10, 11-4) falling 64-35.
Roxy Guadron led the Railroaders with 11 points and Sarah Hanson threw nine points into the mix – all from behind the arc.
Fallon sprinted to a 22-5 lead after eight minutes before the Railroaders edged the hosts 16-14 in the second quarter. The Greenwave then blasted Sparks 17-4 in the third quarter before cruising to the 29-point win.
The first time the two teams met, Jan. 17 at Sparks, the Railroaders mustered just 19 points, allowing 50.
“We had a much better outing… but it was a good night all around for the girls and we ended (the season) with a good finish,” Sparks coach Frank Avilla said.
“The girls played well and I’m proud of them. We’ll put this season to rest and in five weeks we start open gyms and we’re on a mission to get better.”