Hunter led all scorers with 16 points and Sparks fell to 0-5.
While Hunter and the Colts developed a hot hand in the fourth quarter, the Railroaders could not keep up. Sparks was outscored 14-9 in the final period.
“It was just the ball grew and basket shrank,” Sparks coach Dan Schreiber said. “From a coaching standpoint, that’s our nemesis. Once that happens, there’s not too many adjustments you can do. It’s one of those nights.”
The Railroaders had a little more luck getting shots to fall in the first half, taking a 20-16 lead into the half before Wooster outscored the hosts 18-12 in the third quarter. The Colts opened the second half on a 5-0 run.
Sparks led 28-26 late in the third quarter before the Colts went on another run (6-2) and didn’t surrender the lead the rest of the way, setting the stage for Hunter’s fourth-quarter shooting clinic.
Sparks’ usual scoring leader, Isaiah Campbell, was held to five points. Lawrence Sampang and Kevin Borja tied for the SHS team lead, finishing with eight points apiece.
The loss came on the heels of 63-18 loss to Damonte Ranch Wednesday night. Schreiber said his team made noticeable improvements from 24 hours prior.
“There was better ball movement, better defense,” Schreiber said. “We played better. It was a close game all the way through.”
The game was the final of pool play in the Rail City Classic, which Sparks and Wooster co-host. Both teams had already played both teams in their respective pools so the game was inconsequential for seeding toward double-elimination bracket play, which starts Friday.
Despite Sparks’ 0-5 start to the season, Schreiber said he is not worried about his squad starting to hang its head.
“I think they’ll be fine. They know our preseason is tough. This is a tough tournament,” Schreiber said. “We’ve had positive steps each game so I’ll think we’ll be OK.”
The Railroaders host Thurgood Marshall Friday at 4:30 p.m. A win puts the Railroaders in the ninth/10th place game, a loss sends them to 11th/12th place game.
The Rail City Classic concludes Saturday.