Facing off against Damonte Ranch, the Railroaders a 10-point lead at halftime with the scoreboard reading 29-19. Perhaps learning a lesson from the loss the night before, the Maroon and Gold made the double digit margin count as it proved to be enough for Sparks to hold on for a 58-51 victory.
“The big thing was they just kept their heads in it,” Sparks head coach Dan Schreiber said. “They got up early and Damonte closed the gap, but they were able to fend them off. They stayed focused and played well as a team. They were composed. Damonte did a lot of things to try and make runs and rattle us, and we just kept pushing along. We didn’t get rattled and there were no breakdowns. That was the big difference last night. We just broke down and tonight we didn’t.”
Sparks was led by senior D.J. Devine who recorded a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Senior Keiffer Putman added to the effort with a team-high 20 points on the night to go along with four rebounds, while Bobby Brown notched 10 points. Mike Albior handed out seven assists.
Sparks (1-2) will close at the Capital Classic today at 11:45 a.m. against Incline.
The Raiders squared off against the Senators, the host of the tournament, who did not treat their guests kindly as Carson cruised to a 59-45 win on Friday night.
After one quarter of play with the score deadlocked at 18-18, Carson began to pull away from the Raiders as it built a 36-25 edge at the halfway mark of the contest. From there the Raiders tried to mount a comeback, but their efforts fell short as the Senators maintained their 11-point lead into the fourth quarter en route to the 14-point victory.
“Defensively we didn’t execute,” Reed head coach Dustin Hall said. “Our on-ball defense was very poor and on our help defense, our rotations weren’t there. Defensively we really struggled. Carson has some good guards over there so our pressure wasn’t as effective.
“Offensively we execute early and then in the second half we stopped executing and we stopped running our offense. We just weren’t disciplined. We’re still feeling each other out defensively and offensively. We did some good things today and I think we probably had more positives today than we did against Sparks. We just didn’t execute late.”
Reed returns to the hardwood today against Damonte Ranch with tipoff set for 1:30 p.m.
“We just have to keep getting better,” Hall said. “Every day we want to get better and continue growing as a team. Damonte is a good team and they like to press so hopefully we can get out and score the ball a little bit better than we have been lately. We just haven’t been shooting the ball very well. Hopefully come January and February we’ll be right in the mix.”