Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
After losing two games over the weekend to end a four-game winning streak, the Fernley High School boys basketball team got back in the win column Wednesday night with a 52-42 win over Dayton.
With the win, the Vaqueros moved up from sixth place in the Northern 3A into a tie for fourth with Dayton at 5-5 in league play with a string of important games over the next three weeks.
“We did some of the things we wanted to, some of them we didn’t, but good win for us,” coach Derek Miller said. “It was one we definitely needed to get, so I was happy we got it.”
Miller said the Vaqueros wanted to get off to a fast start and push the pace, and an early run accomplished that. Dayton led early, 6-3, but Fernley scored 10 consecutive points, starting with a three-point play by Drew Miller on a drive and a foul. Freshman Isaac O’Neill followed with his own driving layup, then Miller hit a right-wing 3-pointer and Matthew Glover finished the run with a basket.
A putback by Ricky Dumont sent the Vaqueros into the second quarter with a 20-10 lead.
They got the lead to 26-12 on a fast break basket by Miller, but then Dayton’s zone defense began to cause the Vaqueros problems, and slowed the tempo of the game.
“Every time we play Dayton, (coach) Jason (Santos) makes you do everything, slows the pace, makes you play uncomfortably,” Miller said. “We struggled a little out of the zone, didn’t execute the way we wanted to, didn’t get some stops when we needed to, but overall I was pleased.”
Dayton scored eight straight to get back within 26-20, but Fernley answered with the last five points of the half to lead 31-20.
Twice, Dayton got as close as six, the last time at 39-33 with 4:20 left in the game, but the Vaqueros hit 15 of 22 free throws in the fourth quarter to hang on for the win.
The Vaqueros used their own zone defense, one they hadn’t used much before Wednesday, to keep Dayton from being able to attack the basket.
“I’m still not happy with it, but I thought we needed to change some pace a little bit,” Miller said.
Rei Robinett led the Vaqueros with 19 points, and hit 12 of 14 free throws in the fourth quarter. Drew Miller added 11 points.
The Vaqueros host Spring Creek Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Elko Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
They beat Spring Creek 52-43 on Dec. 15, but Miller said the Vaqueros had got in foul trouble committing several offensive fouls after getting up big.
“Spring Creek they take charges really well, and we’re a team that likes to drive, so we’ve got to be smart and jump stop and shoot jumpers instead of trying to go to the hold every time,” Miller said.
Elko leads the league at 9-0 and beat the Vaqueros 70-33 Dec. 14.
“Then Elko, we’ve just got to be more physical,” Miller said. “They just pounded on us and we didn’t respond.”