Dust Devils' 14-game home winning streak comes to end

DAYTON - The streak is over.

South Tahoe accomplished something 14 other teams had been unable to do - beat Dayton on its home floor.

The Dust Devils, 19-6, shot a woeful 21-for-41 at the foul line and turned the ball over 21 times en route to a 67-54 state play-in loss to the Vikings, who entered the game with a mediocre 11-11 record.

So, instead of getting to visit Sin City next weekend for the state tournament, the Dust Devils will be cracking the books and wondering what happened.

Dayton coach Jason Santos was obviously disappointed with the way his team played and the ensuing result.

"We worked so hard to get the No. 1 seed and a home playoff game," Santos said after the game. "Their defense disrupted us. Turnovers, 21-for-41 from the line and offensive rebounds hurt us.

"We had a good season obviously, a successful season, but this is what we'd been looking forward to all year, though. They hit shots from the outside, which they normally don't do."

This would be considered an upset, but not a huge one by any means. The teams split their two meetings this year. Both games were decided by two points. Obviously Santos believed Dayton had the edge because it was on his home floor.

"We had known that (they were undefeated at home) the first time we came here to play them and tonight," said South Tahoe's Peter Pielaet-Strayer, who led South Tahoe with 15 points. "The key was our intensity and belief that we could win. The third quarter came around and we wouldn't take no for an answer."

The third quarter may have been when South Tahoe won the game, but things went south on Dayton as early as the second quarter.

Dayton led by as many as seven points in the first half until the Vikings, led by Strayer, went on a 15-5 run to grab a 25-22 lead at the intermission.

"We should have been up by 15 at the half," said Santos, whose team went 1-for-11 from the floor. "We missed a lot of easy shots. We had our opportunities."

Indeed. Dayton was in the double bonus with six minutes left in the half, but couldn't capitalize. The Dust Devils went 1-for-11 from the field and turned the ball over 11 times in the first 16 minutes. Dayton got a little careless with the basketball in the second quarter and never got a decent inside-put game going the entire night.

The game turned decidedly in the Vikings' favor in the final two-plus minutes of the third quarter. South Tahoe, sparked by Bobby Perez, went on a quarter-ending 8-3 run to take a 44-33 lead.

Perez followed in his own miss to get the surge started, and after a Dayton turnover, he scored on a layup to give South Tahoe a 40-30 lead. Dylan Taylor, who led all scorers with 23 points, scored with 1:30 left and Marcos Macias, who finished with seven points, added a free throw to slice the deficit to 40-33 with 1:09 remaining. Strayer put the finishing touches on the rally with two buckets in the final minute of the period.

"I was happy with the way we played in the mid-third quarter," South Tahoe coach Chris Proctor said.

Dayton, which went 7-for-22 from the floor in the first half, woke up at the start of the fourth quarter and threatened to make a game of it.

The Dust Devils held the Vikings went without a field goal for the first 4 1/2 minutes, as Dayton closed to 50-43. Taylor and Kage Walker led the 10-6 spurt. Taylor had five and Walker four in that stretch. The Vikings went 0-for-3 and turned the ball over four times in that span.

Kory DiGrande broke the ice with two free throws and Strayer added a layup to get the lead back up to double digits, 54-43, with 3:24 left in the game.

"I was concerned," Proctor admitted. "Our seniors hit some shots to get the lead back up there."

Dayton did close to 54-46, but that's as close as it would get the rest of the way. The final 2:36 was a Viking parade to the foul line, as Dayton was forced to foul at every opportunity. South Tahoe went 13-for-22 to salt the win away.

"We knew this would be a challenge," Proctor said. "Dylan (Taylor) is a good offensive player.

"We felt good about the game. I thought coming into the game if we could get over our nervousness and get past the first quarter we'd be OK. The second quarter we played better than expected."

Tyler Firestone, who was hampered by foul problems throughout the second half, finished with 11 points, while Walker ended with eight.

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