There has not been gold found in California for the Memphis Hustle NBA G League team on its current West Coast road swing.
Sunday, Memphis dropped to 22-20 for the season and lost its second straight game, both on the road, in a 126-115 defeat against the Kings in Stockton, California. Stockton won its sixth straight game and finished a three-game sweep of the Hustle for the season series.
With the loss, the Hustle dropped a half-game behind Sioux Falls for the sixth and final Western Conference playoff spot.
Memphis opened the game taking a 34-30 lead after one quarter Sunday, led by Dusty Hannahs' sharpshooting for 14 first-quarter points. The Hustle as a team also shot 60 percent from the floor in the opening 12 minutes of the game.
The shots stopped falling in the second quarter, however, as the Kings outscored Memphis by a 34-21 margin to take a 64-55 lead at intermission.
The Hustle retook the lead in the third quarter at 76-75 with seven minutes left in the frame, but Stockton then went on an 18-2 run for what would become a 15-point lead.
Memphis finished the contest getting to within nine points, but no closer.
Stockton dominated the glass, outrebounding Memphis 51-34 and 19-6 on the offensive end, while also assisting on 30 of its 44 made field goals. Additionally, the Kings bench outscored the Hustle bench 61-10.
Hannahs tied his season high of 30 points and Tarik Phillip, with 26 points and 11 assists, scored his fourth double-double in his last six games to go with five rebounds, two steals and two blocks.
The California road trip continues for Memphis on Wednesday, as the Hustle play at Agua Caliente. Memphis next plays at home against Santa Cruz on Friday at 7 p.m. in the Landers Center.
STATE TOURNAMENTS BEGIN: It's a big week for four DeSoto County high school basketball teams. Boys' and girls' teams from Olive Branch, the Center Hill boys and the Hernando girls travel to Mississippi Coliseum for the state semifinals.
Three of the four teams will be in action Tuesday on the Big House floor in Jackson.
The Olive Branch Lady Quistors return to the state semis, this time as a 5A school seeking a state title. Olive Branch, at 27-4, will open the 5A semifinals at 4 p.m. Tuesday meeting Hattiesburg, which will enter the tournament at 26-4.
The other girls' semifinal at 5:30 p.m. will have Germantown (Madison) against West Jones. Winners meet for the championship on Friday night at 6 p.m.
Hattiesburg entered the Final Four with a 45-41 quarterfinal win over Wayne County. Olive Branch cruised to a 63-37 victory at Lafayette in the quarterfinals.
Center Hill and the Olive Branch boys take the stage Tuesday evening in the 5A boys' semifinals.
The Mustangs open the Final Four at 7 p.m. against Hattiesburg. Center Hill brings a 29-3 record into the game. Hattiesburg is 24-8 after a 68-61 quarterfinal win against Long Beach. Center Hill dominated Cleveland Central 89-55 in its quarterfinal victory.
On the other side of the bracket, defending 5A state champion Olive Branch is back to play against the team it defeated last year for the state title, Forest Hill. The Quistors, 24-7, entered the Final Four with a 72-50 win over Callaway, while the Patriots ousted Picayune 65-53.
Wednesday, the remaining DeSoto County team at state will take the floor, when the Hernando Lady Tigers play Terry to open the 6A Final Four Wednesday at 4 p.m. Hernando, 26-6, comes to Jackson after a 43-40 victory at Tupelo in the quarterfinal round. Terry, 25-8, defeated Biloxi 46-30 to reach state.
Pearl and Greenville meet in the other semi-final game at 5:30 p.m. on Wednedsay.
Finals in the 6A girls' state tournament will be Saturday, March 9 at 6 p.m. in Jackson.
PARKING ISSUES AT STATE: Fans traveling to follow their favorite team at state will notice limited parking around Mississippi Coliseum during tournament week.
The MHSAA released information that parking will be limited to the area south of the Coliseum during the tournament, due to construction underway in the area.
Fans should take the Pearl Street exit off I-55 and enter the Fairgrounds from Gate 1 (Jefferson Street) or Gate 5 (Greymont Street). If you exit I-55 on High Street, you are urged to turn onto Greymont Street and continue to Gate 5. There will be limited access from Gate 10 on High Street, and you will be directed around the construction area to the south side of the Coliseum.
Fans should also be aware that there will be no ticket booths nor entrances to the Coliseum from the north (High Street) side, and they will be directed to the south (Pearl Street) side.
A bag policy is in effect at the Coliseum. Maximum bag size is 12 x 12 x 6 inches and outside food is not allowed. Tickets are $12 for each tournament session.
SPORTS ETC.: Baseball scores reported from Saturday: Marshall Academy over Lake Cormorant 10-1, Center Hill beat Senatobia 14-4 and Water Valley 4-1, DeSoto Central shut out Germantown (Madison) 3-0 in eight innings and defeated Florence, Alabama 4-3,
Softball scores reported from Saturday: Center Hill over Senatobia 13-3; Lewisburg beat Mooreville 7-4 and Eupora 7-1; DeSoto Central shut out Mantachie 7-0 and defeated Pontotoc 7-1; and Hernando outscored Ripley 12-3.
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.