One of those narrow losses, was a 43-42 defeat at the hands of Fernley on Jan. 4.
“It’s another game early on we lost at their place. Just to redeem ourselves (with) really a decisive win is great. We won all four quarters and that’s what we talked about at halftime, win all four quarters,” Sparks coach Dan Schreiber said. “It is just really to get that one behind us and kind of fix what we left on the court at their place.”
Schreiber said his team’s ability to take care of the ball in Saturday’s 17-point win was the biggest difference from the one-point loss nearly a month ago.
In several of the Railroaders' close games this season, a second-half comeback provided late drama. That was not the case in the convincing win over Fernley.
Sparks only trailed for one possession Saturday, early in the first quarter, when the Vaqueros grabbed a 6-5 lead on a Skyler Williams four footer.
The Railroaders closed the initial period with an 8-1 run and never trailed again. Johnny Corbin hit a 3-pointer on Fernley’s first possession of the second half to close the gap within four, 23-19, but the Vaqueros would not get any closer.
Corbin shared the team’s highest scoring duties with Dominic Ceresola. Both finished with eight points.
After being named Homecoming King the night before, senior Isaiah Campbell turned in a game-high 19 points – 17 of which came in the second half.
Campbell scored just two points in the first half as Sparks took a 23-16 lead into the break.
Schreiber said it was no accident that Campbell found the ball in his hands more in the third quarter. It was no accident his team took a 40-27 lead going into the fourth, either.
The wirey senior scored as many points as the entire Fernley roster in the third quarter, 11.
“The big adjustment was just making Isaiah bring the ball up the court rather than Vhernon (Trinidad),” Schreiber said. “So he has the ball to start and allows him to attack first, and then when he passes, for him to come back off the screen and receive it again. So, he’s touched the ball twice down the court which makes it pretty difficult.”
Adrian Garcia split a pair of free throws with five minutes remaining to put Sparks in front 48-27, its biggest lead of the game at 21 points before claiming the 17-point victory.
“They pretty much followed the gameplan from start to finish, worked hard on both ends of the court and distributed the ball,” Schreiber said “It was nice to see.”
Featuring an undersized squad, Sparks has been familiar this year with troubles in the paint. That was not the case in the win.
The Railroaders keyed on Fernley big man Tyler Roemer and held him to five points. Schreiber said he believed the focus on Roemer threw the Vaquero’s offense – which scored only 16 points in both halves – out of rhythm.
Kevin Borja and Gerardo Valencia both scored eight points in the winning effort.
Sparks moved to 2-17, 2-10 in league meetings while Fernley fell to 7-12, 2-10.
The Railroaders have the majority of the week off before playing Friday at Elko and Saturday at Spring Creek. Elko, along with Lowry, is considered one of the best teams in the North.
Regardless of the difficulty of Friday’s opponent, Schreiber said Saturday’s win provided plenty for his team to build off.
“I think just the concept of ball possessions, making sure they’re quality. Even if the ball doesn’t go in the basket, just make sure we’re not turning it over,” Schreiber said. “Limit turnovers to 15 or 16 a game and make sure we’re getting a wide open shot. There is no shot clock. There is no reason to rush it.”