Pirates heading back to Coos Bay
The Pirates (19-6, 13-1) hosted No.7-ranked Riverside (16-9, 6-2) Friday, and the Pirates beat Riverside 68-46. Dayton moves on to the quarterfinals and plays at 3:15 p.m. Thursday vs. Portland Adventist at North Bend High School in a rematch of the 2012 3A state boys basketball semifinals.
The game looked like a blowout for the Pirates on paper, but the game was near-even through the first half.
“I knew they were going to come out and play hard,” Dayton coach Ron Hop said. “You don’t make it here without being good. (Riverside) does a great job, and I knew they were going to give us a great effort. I didn’t know it was going to be that good of an effort.”
The visiting Pirates threw a 2-3 zone at the host Pirates and the zone stalled Dayton and caused a lot of turnovers.
Dayton had a 16-15 lead after the first quarter, but it also committed six turnovers. By halftime, the Pirates led Riverside 30-29 but finished with 12 first-half turnovers.
“I don’t really know what went wrong there,” said Dayton senior Justin Sutton, who finished with a team-leading 12 points. “I just know that if we’re going to go to Coos Bay and win it all, then we need to step it up.”
Dayton stepped it up in the second half and allowed Riverside seven points in the third quarter and 12 points in the fourth period.
The Pirates tried to fastbreak in the second half, and Riverside wasn’t able to keep up. Dayton led 50-36 after the third quarter and added 18 more points led by the Pirates freshmen class of Jarred Ashley (6), Devin Nowlin (4) and Keon Blanco (3).
Freshman sixth-man Zach Spink had 10 points for Dayton. Nathan Bernards had a quiet night offensively. He finished with three points but put in a lot of work on the boards and finished with a team-leading 10 rebounds.
In his fourth game back since breaking his foot mid-season, Forrest Garcia finished with nine points, three rebounds, three steals and a block.
“It’s great to be back,” Garcia said. “My legs aren’t as strong and my foot’s a little weak, but I just have to work that out in practice. It’s good to be back playing with these guys.”
With the way the state tournament is shaking up, it is possible that Dayton and Horizon Christian could meet in the state semifinals should both teams win in the quarterfinals.
“It’s too bad we wouldn’t get to play them in the finals,” Sutton said. “They beat us the last time we played, and I think that as long as we get to play them, it’ll be good.”
Since the two teams cannot play each other in the finals, it will be the first time since 2009 that there will be at least one different team in the 3A state championship game.
If Dayton loses to Portland Adventist in the quarterfinals, its season is not over. It will go to the consolation round and would play either Oregon Episcopal or Horizon Christian on Friday.
If the Pirates win, they will play either the Hawks or the Aardvarks in the semifinals on Friday.
“We have to cut down the turnovers,” Hop said. “We had too many and they took advantage of that in the first half. We have to cut that out if we want to win.”
Notes: Corwin Hiatt scored 11 points for Dayton and had seven rebounds and three blocks as well. ... Jered White scored nine points for the Pirates. ... The Pirates had 13 steals and forced 16 turnovers. ... Dayton was 8-of-16 from 3-point range Friday vs. Riverside. Dayton shot 56.5 percent from the field. ... The Pirates outscored Riverside 20-7 in the third quarter to break the game open.