They got it by stealing a 65-64 win at McQueen Friday night in a key High Desert League affair.
Spanish Springs trailed by four, 57-53, after McQueen’s Emma White dropped in a layup for her only bucket of the night with 5:50 to go in the game. That’s when the wheels fell off the Lancers’ wagon.
Spanish Springs put together a 10-0 run — the largest string of unanswered points by either team in the contest — over the next two and a half minutes.
Sophomore shooting guard Sam Owens capped the spurt by knocking down a 3-pointer off a kickout from teammate Lyndsey Anderson, leaving the SSHS crew on top 63-57 at the 3:18 mark of the fourth period.
“We were able to get a couple 2-on-1 transition buckets and Sam hit a big three,” Spanish Springs coach Christine Eckles said. “So we were finally able to put a little run together and made some defensive stops.”
McQueen scored five of the next six points to get within two, 64-62, after Sierra Baker made good on 1 of 2 free throws with 41 ticks to go.
With 30 seconds left, Owens converted 1 of 2 foul shots, giving her Cougars club a 65-62 lead. McQueen answered again when Taylor Baker dropped in a layup, cutting the Spanish Springs lead to the final 65-64 score.
Cougars guard Amanda O’Farrell missed the front end of the bonus on the ensuing possession. That left McQueen 10 seconds to try and steal the win but Lancers’ junior guard Erica Sutherland missed an off-balance runner in the lane. The shot came up short and fell out of bounds, giving the Cougars two seconds to kill off the clock and they did to secure the victory.
Spanish Springs helped its cause by taking better care of the ball in the second half. After 14 first-half turnovers, the Cougars gave it away just six times after the intermission. Spanish Springs didn’t hurt itself by winning the war on the boards either. It out-rebounded its hosts 43-32.
“That was huge. Those were areas that were a focus for us in the locker room at halftime,” Eckles said. “We had to rebound better and take care of the ball. We had way too many turnovers in the first half. McQueen was going so hard to the offensive glass in the first half. We knew we had to keep them to one shot, if we wanted a chance to win.”
The Cougars got a balanced offensive attack as four players contributed double figures in the scoring column. Sophomore point guard Riley Holladay posted a game-high 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while giving away five assists.
Another Spanish Springs sophomore, Anderson, contributed 17 points and 10 rebounds to the winning cause.
Owens and senior Julianna Waller both chipped in 10 points. Owens added seven assists.
“It might be the first time we’ve gotten four starters in double figures this season and we needed every single one of those,” Eckles said. “I’m just proud of those kids for being unselfish and finding each other, for contributing. If we can get that kind of production from four kids, it will put us in a position to win games every night.”
The league rivals traded leads all night as neither team could keep the momentum. Spanish Springs’ late six-point edge was the biggest either team enjoyed in the game.
The Cougars led 14-10 after the first period, but the Lancers broke out for 24 second-period points and held a 34-33 lead by halftime. McQueen led 51-48 after three quarters.
Sierra Baker scored 17 points and Katy Hufford finished with 13 points to pace McQueen.
Spanish Springs improved to 12-10 with the win and is two games over the break-even mark for the first time this winter. The Cougars, who were 1-4 in conference clashes at one point in the season, have now evened their league record at 6-6.
“This game is evident we’re playing better,” Eckles said. “The first time we played McQueen, they gave us a wake-up call that we needed to get a lot better. It feels good that we can win against a good team, a team that was ahead of us in the league standings. That’s attributed to the girls working hard in practice and running our system. We’re getting better and that’s what you want to do, get better at the end of year.”
Spanish Springs returns to action Tuesday in a Northern 4A crossover league game at Carson. Tip-off is 6 p.m.
The Spanish Springs Cougars did not have much magic left Friday night after their surprising lopsided upset of Northern 4A power Douglas three days earlier.
Spanish Springs was run over by McQueen, 70-47 in an HDL boys prep hoop tilt Friday night in northwest Reno.
Spanish Springs pulled to within four, 24-20, with 3:32 remaining in the second period. That’s when McQueen took control. The host Lancers scored the last six points of the first half and grabbed a 30-20 lead at halftime.
McQueen blew the game open in the third period. The Lancers posted 19 of the first 20 points of the second half, forging ahead 49-21.
“I don’t know what it was at that specific moment, but even the way we started, was bad,” Spanish Springs coach Kyle Penney said. “We ran our set plays and executed those, but we didn’t have any ball reversals. I don’t know if there was a possession where we had more than four passes and we don’t get it done that way.”
McQueen kept pouring it on. The MHS club got a corner 3-pointer from Joe Saarem at the 6:16 mark of the fourth period, for a 61-28 lead, the widest gap of the game. Saarem racked up a game-high 19 points. His Lancers teammate Lukas Engstrom added 18 points.
“We had an idea of what we wanted to do against them, but coming out and doing it is a completely different thing,” McQueen coach John Franklin said. “We weren’t playing good solid defense in the first half. We were trying hard and flying around, but in the second half we did a much better job of clamping down in our man-to-man.”
Ryan Swanson was the lone Cougars’ player to score in double figures. He finished with 15 points.
Spanish Springs (9-12, 6-6) did put up the first two baskets of the game for a quick 4-0 lead but McQueen (12-7, 9-3) warmed up and had a 20-12 advantage at the first quarter’s conclusion.
“I probably felt tonight like Douglas felt at our home on Tuesday,” Penney said, alluding to his team’s 64-46 win over the Tigers. “McQueen was focused. Give them credit. They hit shots. But I hesitate to say they’re 20 points better than us. I did not see my same team that I saw Tuesday.”
The Cougars will play Carson Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m.