The Raiders aren’t the same team that beat Douglas 77-41 in mid-December, but they still have only lost to Reno and Spanish Springs since Gabby Williams went down for the season.
“We’ll be young. I expect it to be a pretty good game” Reed coach Sara Schopper-Ramirez said. “We need to take care of the ball, play tough defense and dominate the glass. Coach Werner (Christen) has been doing it a long time, and I know he will have his team prepared. It won’t be a blowout like it was earlier this year.”
The Raiders will be even younger when they take the court Wednesday. Junior forward Tina Vernon and junior point guard Brooke Cervantes got in a heated argument during Friday night’s loss at Spanish Springs. The duo was sent to the bench for the final quarter of the game. Schopper-Ramirez said her players need to understand they must respect each other and be held accountable for their actions.
Douglas will also enter the playoffs on a losing note after a lackluster 58-34 loss to rival Carson in the regular season finale. The Tigers finished the season with an overall record of 13-15 and went 8-8 in the D-I North, losing to Manogue (2), Carson (2), Spanish Springs, Reed, North Valleys and Reno in league play.
Last season, Spanish Springs was riding high and looked to be in good position to reach the regional semifinals. Despite claiming the No. 3 seed, the Cougars went 12-4 in league action with their only losses coming to HDL rivals Reno and Reed.
Spanish Springs swept its crossover league contests against the Sierra League.
So when the Cougars went down to Carson for a first-round matchup, most expected Spanish Springs would stay undefeated against SL opponents. That didn’t happen.
The Purple and White collapsed in the second half and saw a first-half 15-point lead vanish in a 41-36 loss. Spanish Springs scored eight points over the last 14 minutes of the game.
Spanish Springs again finished with a 12-4 league mark, leaving it with a third seed and a trip to Carson for a quarterfinal matchup. This time around, the Cougs know they can’t take the Senators lightly.
Two weeks ago, Spanish Springs took on Carson and it was a two-point game halfway through the third quarter. The Cougars went on to win 52-35, closing out the game with nine straight points.
The Senators earned an 11-5 record in league play. Their losses came to Reed, Spanish Springs, Reno and Manogue twice.
Spanish Springs, which did not enter last year’s postseason on a winning note, hopes last Friday’s decisive win over cross-town rival Reed will help jumpstart its playoff campaign.
“I hope it gives us good momentum and we believe we can go out and play with anybody,” SSHS girls basketball coach Christine Eckles said. “We have to take it one game at a time. Last year we got upset at Carson, so we have to get real focused, real quick.”
However, the win over Reed also made Spanish Springs’ path to a regional championship game much harder. The loss by the Raiders dropped them down to the No. 2 seed and lifted Reno up to the top spot, meaning if Spanish Springs wins its opener and the Huskies avoid a colossal upset, those two teams will go head-to-head in the semifinals.
The Cougars have never beaten Reno, and the two games this year haven’t been close. The Huskies won those league clashes by 17 and 19 points.
In other matchups Wednesday, Reno will take on the SL No. 4 seed Damonte Ranch (3-13) and Sierra League champion Bishop Manogue (15-1) hosts the HDL No. 4 seed North Valleys (6-10). All games start at 7 p.m. The semifinals will be played at Carson High Friday.