Sparks led the whole game after two scores early in the game, capped by a layup by Erik Garcia. Sparks outscored Dayton 12-2 in the first three minutes of the game, and never looked back.
“They came out with the intensity, turned us over early in the game,” Dayton coach Jason Santos said.
The Railroaders built on that lead with a 10-2 run for a 22-4 advantage with 1:50 left on the first-quarter clock. To go along with the big lead, Dayton’s bench was handed a technical with 1:18 left. Sparks’ Angel Guillen made the second of two free throws for a 23-7 lead.
“They had a hard time with our full-court pressure,” Sparks coach Dick Lee said. “I think that’s where we jumped ahead. We got some baskets. They didn’t handle the pressure very well...we hit shots in the first quarter.
About 40 seconds later, Dayton (4-7, 0-2 3A) was whistled for a flagrant foul. Sparks’ Barry Bon sank both shots to extend the lead to 25-7. With three seconds left, Dayton’s Dylan Taylor sneaked in a layup to close the quarter 25-9 in favor of Sparks.
“They were a very physical team, to put it lightly,” Sparks coach Dick Lee said. “Very physical. I’m not sure what they were trying to establish. Maybe they didn’t think we could play physically and we’d back off. I’m really proud of our kids.”
Sparks (6-7, 2-0 3A) continued to push ahead in the second quarter, taking a 35-15 lead with 4:44 left in the half on a score by Garcia. On the Railroaders’ next trip down the court, Dayton’s Chris Sikora was tossed from the game with an elbow to Garcia’s face. Garcia missed both shots. After the ejection, the Dayton bench was called for its second technical of the half. Guillen knocked down both shots for a 37-15 lead.
Andrew Garcia followed with a triple to cap an 11-0 run for Sparks. The Railroaders finished the half with a 47-26 advantage.
The third quarter got sloppy on both sides of the floor. Sparks scored a few buckets early but the Dust Devils got some late. Neither team made much ground as Sparks outscored Dayton by a slim 11-10 in the quarter.
After a quick basket by Dayton, Sparks scored seven straight points capped by a steal by Eric Garcia that led to a bucket by Andrew Garcia for a 64-40 lead over the visitors. Dayton turned around with a 10-0 run, whittling down the Railroaders’ lead to 14. That’s as good as it would get for the Dust Devils. Martin Jordan knocked in a shot after an inbounds pass to Andrew Garcia and a hand off.
Even with the big lead, coach Lee said he was never comfortable with the way his team played down the stretch.
“We’ve got to execute better in late-game situations,” Lee said. “We should’ve been able to extend that lead and we did a little bit...I never felt comfortable with the second-half lead at all.”
Bryan Orellana knocked down two free throws that put Dayton’s Connor Conroy on the bench with five fouls and a 69-52 lead for the Railroaders.
Leading 70-55, Sparks closed out the game on a 12-3 run for the 82-58 lopsided score.
Guillen led Sparks with 27 points. Jordan and Andrew Garcia added 18 and 13 respectively. Henry Banks tossed in 10 toward the winning effort.
Kage Walker had 14 for the Dust Devils and Adam Gomez put in 13.
Sparks will take on Lowry Friday and Spring Creek on Saturday, both games are at home.