Spanish Springs opened the game with a 17-3 run and finished it with a 22-0 outburst en route to the lopsided victory.
Between the spurts, Damonte Ranch did enough to keep the game close, but it wasn’t near enough to overcome the Cougars’ bookend runs of momentum.
“I thought we started strong, which is something we had not been doing,” Spanish Springs coach Christine Eckles said. “That’s good but we fell off in the second and third quarters. We did respond in the fourth quarter.
“It was just a matter of finishing offensively. In the third quarter, we got lot of good shots, but missed a lot of layups, I was OK with our shot selection. We just missed some easy shots that we needed to fall. Those started to fall in the fourth quarter.”
The Cougars led 33-20 at halftime, but allowed the visiting Mustangs to dominate the first six-plus minutes of the third period. Damonte Ranch got a putback from Kris Gordan with 1:33 remaining in the third to trim the SSHS lead to three 35-32.
Spanish Springs got a corner 3-pointer from Amanda O’Farrell and a Riley Holladay free throw to close out the third quarter with a 39-32 lead.
Damonte Ranch point guard Ciara O’Driscoll converted a 3-point play in transition to kick off the fourth quarter. That pulled the Mustangs within four, 39-35, but it got ugly from there for the guests.
Spanish Springs all-league forward candidate, Lyndsey Anderson, who had been scoreless in the third period, missing nine shots, warmed up in the fourth. She scored eight of the first 15 points in the Cougars’ 22-0 run that ended the game.
Anderson finished with a game-high 20 points, but was limited to an 8-of-21 shooting night. The Cougars got a balanced scoring effort. Point guard Riley Holladay contributed 13 points and shooting guard Sam Owens added 10.
“Lyndsey definitely struggled in the third, but we took her out for a couple minutes and told her we’d keep coming back to her,” Eckles said. “She came back and hit those shots in the fourth quarter.”
The SSHS crew helped its cause by forcing 28 Damonte Ranch turnovers while committing only 12, tying a season low. Additionally, the Cougars won the rebounding battle 39-33, an effort helped by grabbing 20 offensive boards.
Damonte Ranch shot a decent percentage, 14-of-31 (45 percent) from the field, but its turnovers and giving up a bevy of Spanish Springs offensive rebounds proved costly. The Cougars made the most of their extra opportunities, although shooting just 24-70 from the floor (34 percent).
The Cougars’ explosive fourth period paid dividends in the win column and was in stark contrast to Tuesday when the local club found itself in a four-point game against perennial Northern 4A power Reno but watched the Huskies conclude that game with a telltale 18-2 run.
Slow starts have hurt the Cougars on multiple occasions this winter, but not Friday. Leading 2-1 just over a minute into the contest, Spanish Springs scored 17 of the next 21 points.
Second-half defensive adjustments were key for the Cougars. O’Driscoll and Emily Byrne combined for 18 of the Mustangs’ 20 first-half points, but the duo was limited to six after the intermission. Byrne finished with 15 points to pace Damonte Ranch in defeat.
Spanish Springs evened its overall record at 9-9 and is now 3-5 in league affairs. Next week is Finals Week for Washoe County School District athletes. The Cougars will not be in action again until Friday at Hug at 6 p.m.