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Cougars sweep field in own tourney
by Tribune Staff
Dec 09, 2013 | 855 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne - SSHS senior guard Mariah Vargas handles the defensive pressure of a defender from Bishop, Calif. in the Cougars' Saturday afternoon victory.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - SSHS senior guard Mariah Vargas handles the defensive pressure of a defender from Bishop, Calif. in the Cougars' Saturday afternoon victory.
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The Spanish Springs girls basketball team (4-1) won all four games it played in the High Sierra Winter Challenge - a tournament the Cougars co-host annually with Reno High.

The Cougars topped Lassen (33-27) Thursday, Union Mine (43-34) Friday and Palo Verde (39-34) and Bishop (48-24) Saturday.

“I think it was good. We didn’t have much practice time so it was good to learn on the fly,” first-year coach Arturo Cardenas said. “The kids are starting to get the direction I’m taking the program in. They’re starting to catch onto the plays and they’re executing a little bit better but we still obviously have a long ways to go.”

In her first year playing varsity, junior post player Katrina Prendergast put together a productive weekend. Prendergast, who was the state individual girls golf champion this fall, led the Cougs with 15 points in their win over Palo Verde. The junior also chipped in seven points in the win over Union Mine.

“She (Prendergast) is probably our most skilled post player,” Cardenas said. “She does a lot of good things down low… She has a nice little jumper. She can handle the ball a little bit and she’s a pretty good passer.”

At 5-feet 9-inches, Prendergast will be outsized much of the season. Cardenas said he hopes she becomes more physical in the paint throughout the season to utilize her skill set.

Opposing teams played primarily zone defense against the Cougars and Cardenas said he liked what he saw of his squad’s newly-placed zone offense. When they didn’t have the ball, the Cougars continued to run their man-to-man defense, which they will use primarily this season.

“The tournament was good. It was a little more freelancing just to see where a lot of players are at. I’m still trying to see that and develop a rotation,” Cardenas said.

Despite the remaining uncertainty of the rotation, which Cardenas wants to start implementing as league games start, the first-year coach said the 4-0 weekend provided a boost to more than just the team’s record.

“The girls are more confident. They are shooting the ball with more confidence,” Cardenas said. “They are playing a lot better so they are starting to create that chemistry.”

Friday night-Saturday morning’s snowfall did not create any major complications for the tournament but Cardenas said Elko did leave before their final game Saturday evening for safety purposes.

The Cougars, which lost their season opener at Douglas, try to even their league record tonight as they play host to Wooster. Tipoff is at 5:15 p.m.
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