First-place Dust Devils top Lakers
Sierra Sun News Service
DAYTON ” It seems the Dayton High boys basketball team was listening last week when coach T.W. Cunningham spoke about the importance of starting fast.
The Northern 3A division-leading Dust Devils led 20-4 after one quarter and went on to a 76-28 win at home against Incline on Friday night. The Dust Devils were equally impressive Saturday afternoon against North Tahoe when they surged to a 27-4 first quarter lead and then cruised to a 72-15 triumph.
Dayton (14-0 league, 21-3) faced a North Tahoe (0-14, 3-20) squad that has been shorthanded all season and just two weeks ago lost senior Michael Forte ” who was averaging 20.1 points per game ” to a broken foot. With a depleted roster, coach Dave Hansen brought up all of North Tahoe’s JV players to fill out the varsity roster.
“You’ve got to give those guys credit for coming out and playing hard like they did,” Cunningham said of the Lakers. “It takes a lot of heart to come out, knowing you’re probably not going to win the game, and still give it your best effort.
“Losing (Forte) hurt. He’s one of the top players in the league,” the Dayton coach added.
Eight different players scored in the first quarter for Dayton. In the end, each of the team’s 11 players reached the score column. Coming off the bench, sophomore Tanner Wood scored 19 points and Hans Meyer 12 to lead the Dust Devils offensively.
“Our depth has really improved the last few games,” Cunningham said. “Those bench guys have really stepped up, and in doing so, they’ve made us a better team.”
Spencer Marple led North Tahoe with five points, including a 3-pointer in the second quarter. Armando Aguilar added three points on 3-for-4 shooting from the free throw line, Taylor Goode scored three, while Brent Marple and Joe Erman scored two each.
Dayton, now riding a 13-game win streak, is already assured of the No. 1 seed for the Northern 3A Regional Tournament on Feb. 15-17 at Damonte Ranch High in Reno. Dayton’s last loss came on Dec. 28 against Hesperia (Calif.) in the semifinals of the Bishop (Calif.) tournament.
At this point, Cunningham is taking steps to guard against complacency. Among those steps is trying to play well from the start.
“We talked about coming out and starting well and we did that the last two nights,” Cunningham said. “You can’t get off to a much better start than that.”