Dayton wins with second-half surge
DAYTON — The state playoffs never seem to get old for the Dayton Pirates boys basketball program.
It’s reached the state tournament once again, and in dramatic fashion, it failed to disappoint in the first round.
The Pirates (19-6, 13-1) beat Riverside (16-9, 6-2) of the Eastern Oregon League, 68-46, in front of a home crowd drenched in cardinal red Friday.
Dayton got off to a good start. It ended the first quarter making 8-of-11 shots, but Riverside also played well and trailed the cardinal and white-dressed Pirates, 16-15 after one.
The Pirates in powder blue and black frustrated Dayton early and often throughout the first half. Riverside’s 2-3 zone defense created 12 first-half turnovers, and it traded baskets with Dayton until the end of the half.
The blue Pirates trailed the red Pirates 30-29 at the half.
Dayton came out of the break with new life, and Dayton coach Ron Hop had a simple message for the Pirates as they were about to take the floor: Pick up the tempo and run.
Once Dayton started, it couldn’t be stopped. At the 4 minute, 10 second mark of the third, Riverside was out of gas and Dayton pulled ahead 50-36 behind Justin Sutton’s team-leading 12 points.
The host Pirates continued to cruise in the fourth, and at 5:00, all of Dayton’s starters were out of the game.
Freshman Jarred Ashley came into the game and made an immediate impact, despite working with a large lead.
In the final minutes, Ashley had six points and two rebounds. Ashley’s surge helped grow Dayton’s lead to 60-36.
Turnovers continued to be a problem for the remainder of the game for the both Pirate teams. Dayton finished with 19 turnovers, struggling to find easy fast break points through Riverside’s zone.
Dayton’s man defense forced 15 Pirate turnovers.
The Pirates move on to the quarterfinal round and play at 3:15 p.m. Thursday at North Bend High School. Dayton plays the winner of a 7:30 p.m. Saturday game between Salem Academy and Portland Adventist Academy.
NOTES: Nathan Bernards had nine points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Zach Spink had 10 points, Jared White had 10 points, and Corwin Hiatt had also finished with 10 points.