A win would have made the SSHS hoopsters the HDL’s runner-up and had the local club at home for the first-round of the playoffs. The Cougars have been to the playoffs four times but were on the road each time.
The loss means the Cougars are the HDL’s third seed and will travel to play Sierra League runner-up Carson in the first round of the regional tournament Feb. 14.
“The loss was tough tonight,” Spanish Springs coach Christine Eckles said. “We knew what was at stake and one of our season goals was to host a first-round playoff game, so obviously none of us are real happy right now. But there is still more basketball to play so we’ve got to bounce right back and get after it.”
The margin was four, with Reno leading 16-12, less than a minute into the second quarter. That came after Spanish Springs got a driving layup from Lyndsey Anderson.
But that’s also where the game began to slip away from the visiting Cougars. Reno reeled off a 22-7 run through the final seven minutes of the second period. That momentum swing gave Reno a 38-19 halftime edge.
The hosts got a huge boost from senior sharpshooter CC Sobrio, who drained all five of her treys before the intermission and had 17 points after two quarters. She finished with a game-high 20 points.
“CC hit some big shots and it’s no secret she’s capable of doing that,” Eckles said. “Reno executes really well. You have to be disciplined defensively and sometimes you have to pick your poison because they can score from all five spots on the floor.”
Spanish Springs scored the first six points of the third period thanks to some full-court pressure, but Reno adjusted and still wound up winning the third quarter 13-11.
The Cougars got started off on the right foot in the fourth quarter as well, stringing together a modest 7-0 run to initiate the last period. Freshman MorningRose Tobey drained a 3-pointer to cap the quick Cougars’ burst and make the score 51-37.
Unfortunately for the guests, Reno (23-4, 13-2) responded again. It answered with a 12-3 spurt and sealed the win, which gave the Huskies the HDL’s No. 2 playoff seed and a first-round home playoff game next week.
Reno’s only losses this winter have come to top-ranked and defending state champion Centennial and second-ranked Reed, twice to both.
Reno won the rebounding battle, 39-30, but did turn it over 22 times to Spanish Springs 17. The Huskies shot 20-50 (40 percent) from the field while the Cougars were 19-55 (34 percent).
“Those numbers are similar to the first game we played against them,” Eckles said. “We forced more turnovers and got more shots. But Reno makes open looks and we need to make more if we want to beat them.”
Hannah Woytek and Tobey paced the SSHS offense with 18 and 14 points respectively.
In addition to Sobrio’s big night, Reno got three other players in double figures. Shannon Gough had 13 points, Morgan McGwire 12 and Shalen Shaw 10.
Spanish Springs (19-7, 11-4) wraps up its regular season Friday night at Hug.