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Big first quarter propels Spanish Springs girls to win
by Aaron Retherford
Dec 07, 2012 | 1932 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
For the second straight night, the Spanish Springs girls basketball team made quick work of an out-of-state foe at the sixth annual High Sierra Winter Challenge.

The Cougars scored 19 of the 21 first-quarter points but let off the gas the rest of the way en route to a 44-25 win over Heritage of Littleton, Colo.

Spanish Springs built the sizable edge in the first quarter without drawing a foul until there were 27 seconds remaining in the first period. The Cougars went up 19-2 after one quarter by forcing turnovers with their press, scoring in transition and being able to set up plays to free cutting players.

That didn’t change in the early part of the second quarter.

Spanish Springs grabbed its first 20-point lead on a 3-pointer by KK Lang. The Cougs then went up by 22 points when Riley Holladay scored on a perfectly executed fast break, making it a 24-2 ballgame at the 6:27 mark of the second quarter.

Heritage finally changed its point total on the scoreboard with 5:48 on the clock thanks to a pair of free throws by Mary Cavanaugh.

The Eagles decreased the gap to under 20 points by stringing together four points when Sarah Schulze finished a fast break layup. That left the scoreboard reading 24-6 in favor of the Cougars with 3:27 to go in the first half.

Spanish Springs didn’t take care of the ball well in the second quarter and that cost it on the scoreboard. The Purple and Silver managed just one field goal over the last six minutes of the first half. Hannah Woytek knocked down a long jumper from the corner, pushing the edge back to 20, 26-6.

Heritage answered a minute and a half later as Cavanaugh made an underhand layup with just over a minute before the break. The teams went into the locker rooms with a 26-8 score after the Cougars outscored their foe by a slim 7-6 margin in the second period.

The offensive futility continued in the second half.

After Heritage scored the first basket of the third quarter on a putback by Baily Cechini, Spanish Springs padded the cushion back up to 20 points (30-10) on scores by Lyndsey Anderson and Holladay in the paint.

But for the next three minutes, each team only made one shot from the field. An Anderson three-point play extended the home team’s lead to 33-12 with 2:53 remaining on the third-quarter clock.

Heritage came right down the floor and Cechini dropped in a layup on the break while being fouled. She converted the three-point play 7 seconds after Anderson’s and brought Heritage to within 18 points, 33-15, with 2:47 left in the third.

Spanish Springs scored the next four points to match the largest lead of the game to that point. But Heritage scored the last basket of the third quarter, making the third quarter a push as the SSHS cagers took a 37-19 advantage into the final eight minutes of play.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Spanish Springs claimed a game-high 23-point lead (44-21) on a 3-pointer from the left side by Holladay. Still, the Cougars could not build any momentum and were held scoreless over the last four minutes of the contest.

“We didn’t play very well offensively the second through the fourth quarters,” SSHS girls basketball coach Christine Eckles said. “I was disappointed with our execution. We preach that defense will win basketball games for you. I thought our defense stayed good throughout the game. We’re lucky we had a big first quarter or we would have been in a battle with them.”

Holladay led all scorers with 18 points, while Anderson chipped in with 16. Holladay also had six steals and four assists. Spanish Springs only got two points in the second half from anyone outside of that duo.

Schulze paced Heritage (0-3) with eight points, which turned the ball over 32 times compared to 21 by Spanish Springs.

The Cougars are 6-0 for the first time in school history.
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