Sacramento Heatwave defeat Central Valley, 111-94

By: Brett Ransford
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The Sacramento Heatwave (2-4) earned their second win of the season 111-94 over the visiting Central Valley Dawgs on Thursday night in Folsom. The win snaps a three-game losing streak, as the Heatwave was unsuccessful on a three-game road-trip. After a close first half the Dawgs took a 54-52 lead into halftime on a last second 3-pointer. The first half featured three ties and eight lead changes. Up by one the Dawgs took a 10-point turnaround for the lead at 42-34 following a three-pointer and a 3D rule three-point play. The fastest six points in a matter of seconds wasn’t enough, however, to stop the Heatwave potent offense. It was a 3-point shooting gallery for the Heatwave, who hit 12-of-23 from beyond the arc. They only shot 13-of-20 from the free throw stripe and had 12 turnovers, but again their big man was there to give order to the chaos. Center Demarshay Johnson led the game with his double-double 23 points and 10 rebounds (six offensive boards). He added two blocks and an assist. Ten of his points came in the fourth quarter. “Our focus was to get it down low and exploit them as much as possible,” said Johnson. “I’m able to clean up stuff off the glass because we have guys that like to shoot the ball. It opens up those offensive rebounds for us. We see the things we need to improve on and hopefully this gives us a lot of momentum into our next game.” Outscoring the Dawgs 31-14 in the third quarter, the Heatwave had a fire lit after a halftime speech from coach Reggie Davis. The third quarter propelled the Heatwave to an 83-68 beginning of the fourth. “I hope this is the beginning of us really making a concerted effort to get stops and be a better defensive team,” said Davis. “We’ve lost games where we put up enough points but don’t get enough stops. The ABA championship is within our reach if we can play to our potential. We’re a little slacked in the areas of defense compared to our defensive potential.” Playing to his defensive potential was Heatwave forward Aaron Perry with 14points, three blocks and a steal. Five players finished in double-digit scoring for Sacramento including Johnson’s 23 points and Darius Wright with 20 points. In the Heatwave backcourt, Wright had 20 points, six assists, two rebounds and a pair of steals. He also had three triples, shooting 3-of-5 from three-point. As the premier guard for the Heatwave, Wright stretches the defense with his perimeter threat only to cut through the defense finding Johnson or Perry. Michael Kirby got the start in the Heatwave backcourt. Kirby was a burst of energy, igniting the offense and streaking to the rim at will. He finished with 17points (11 in the second half) and two assists. Forward Travis Bunker added his 13 points, six rebounds and four assists. He shot lights out from the three-point hitting 3-of-4. The Heatwave are now 2-1 at home hoping to take some of that energy on the road as they prepare for another four-game road trip. They have four games in eight nights heading to Lindsay, first to take Central Valley again on Saturday. Sacramento is 1-1 against the Dawgs. They will see the Honolulu Pegasus in back-to-back road games then onto San Francisco to finish the trip against the Rumble, who they lost their second home game to 113-109.