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North Valleys too much for Sparks girls
by Dan Eckles
Dec 21, 2013 | 1034 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Sparks High's Roxy Guadron dribbles by North Valleys defender Madison Reding during the Railroaders' non-league loss Saturday.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Sparks High's Roxy Guadron dribbles by North Valleys defender Madison Reding during the Railroaders' non-league loss Saturday.
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Tribune photo by John Byrne - Sparks reserve Lilly Banas (in white) tries to pull the ball away from NVHS defender Madison Reding during a non-conference game between the two schools Saturday afternoon.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Sparks reserve Lilly Banas (in white) tries to pull the ball away from NVHS defender Madison Reding during a non-conference game between the two schools Saturday afternoon.
slideshow
The Sparks girls basketball team earned its first victory of the young season Friday night. Unfortunately for Sparks fans, their Railroaders could not replicate their winning ways less than 24 hours later.

North Valleys scored 12 of the first 14 points of a non-league prep hoops clash at Sparks Saturday afternoon and the visiting Panthers were never threatened en route to a 65-29 triumph.

Sparks, which won at Dayton, 51-36, Friday night, was playing its third game in three days.

After falling behind 12-2 six minutes into the contest, Sparks briefly stopped the bleeding. The Railroaders trailed by nine after the initial period, 16-7.

The margin was still nine, 21-12, after Sparks guard Sarah Hansen knocked down a short baseline jumper with 4:21 remaining in the second quarter.

Sparks (1-6, 1-1 DI-A North) would never be within single digits again.

North Valleys (5-2, 2-1 DI North) outscored Sparks 8-4 through the rest of the second quarter and took a 29-16 advantage into the locker room at the break.

The third period did not provide a respite for Sparks. The two teams traded free throws in the first 35 seconds of the quarter, but the well went dry from there for the host Railroaders. North Valleys ripped off 18 unanswered points in a span of less than six minutes.

The visiting Panthers extended their edge to 48-20 after three quarters of play.

"In the second half, we started playing with better energy defensively. When you do that, most everything else falls into place," seventh-year North Valleys coach Bob Bentley said. "In the first half, it was the little things. We were a half step behind and not where we were supposed to be."

North Valleys was better in the fourth quarter too, outscoring Sparks 17-9 to account for the final 36-point gap.

Ten different North Valleys players found the scoring column but Elaine Johnson was the lone Panther athlete in double digits. She posted 16 points.

Gabby Morgan was the only Sparks player to hit for double figures offensively. She finished with 10 points. Hanson and Gabby Hernandez chipped in nine and six points respectively to the SHS crew's losing cause.

"They made that run in the third quarter and almost all of those points came as a result of their defensive pressure," Sparks coach Frank Avilla said. "Last night we handled pressure better, but we're getting better step by step … I think we got mentally fatigued today."

Sparks gets nearly two weeks off during the Winter Break before it returns to the court for more game action. The Railroaders don't play again until Jan. 3 when they travel to Lowry.

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