Feeding the ball to Terrance in the low post, the Cougars jumped onto the shoulders of the senior as she helped carry Spanish Springs to a 53-45 victory in the first round of the Division I North playoffs Wednesday night.
With the Cougars down a point and eight minutes to play, the sides traded nine straight baskets en route to a 42-40 SSHS lead with 3:55 to play. Over that four-minute stretch, eight of Spanish Springs’ 10 points were tallied by Terrance. From there, the rest of the Cougs took over.
Down 42-40, Carson drew a foul and went to the free-throw line with a chance to tie the game. As SSHS guard Myrissa Prince stood next to Spanish Springs coach Christine Eckles getting instructions, the Senators missed the front end of the one-and-one. Terrance snatched the rebound, kicked it out to teammate Hannah Woytek, who then took two dribbles before finding a wide-open Prince for an easy layup. That ignited a mini 7-2 SSHS spurt to leave the Cougars ahead 49-42 down the stretch of a back-and-forth game where every possession was crucial. With just 0:48 remaining on the clock, there was not enough time for Carson’s hopes of a comeback. Spanish Springs sealed the victory fittingly with a free throw by Terrance, capping off her game-high 22 points.
“I thought we got some good possessions,” Eckles said. “I think the biggest thing that helped us was that little run we made with a couple minutes left. We rebounded and got the ball up the floor and we got some layups. It made a big difference for us because we didn’t really go on a run any other time in the game.
“As for Neesh’s play, Neesh was Neesh. She was huge tonight. She was a big part of our game plan because we knew last time they didn’t hardly see her because she was in foul trouble. So we knew that size wise, we’d have a good advantage. She was strong with the ball and she wanted it. She did a great job and really carried us on her back tonight.”
Carson coach Nathan Tolbert agreed Terrance was the difference maker in the game.
“We didn’t really have an answer for her,” Tolbert said. “She’s good. We had a couple of letdowns and we didn’t have weak-side help. A couple of times we just found ourselves in a bad position and there you go, that’s the difference.”
To start the contest, Spanish Springs worked its way to an early 6-5 advantage before the Senators closed out the first quarter with a pair of baskets to take a 9-8 lead.
From there, Carson extended its one-point edge to a 17-15 lead with 3:18 left until halftime before the Cougars finished the final two minutes by hitting five free throws in order to take a 20-17 lead into the intermission. Spanish Springs pushed that lead to five at 26-21 midway through the third quarter before Carson doubled up the Cougs 12-6 to leave the scoreboard reading 33-32 at the end of the third in favor of the Senators.
Along with the game-high 22 points, Terrance also recorded 12 rebounds. Senior Lyndsey Anderson also tallied a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds on the night to help the Cougars’ winning cause. Woytek contributed eight points, all of which came in the second half.
“It feels great,” Eckles said of the playoff victory. “It feels good for the kids. It’s the most wins in school history and going to the regional semifinals for only the second time in our school’s history. It’s just a great way for these kids to work toward the end of their season, but hopefully we’re not done.”
Spanish Springs (22-6) will now take on the High Desert League’s No. 1 seed Reno. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. Friday in Carson.
“This feels great. This year as a team we feel that we can beat any team if we put our minds to it, so it feels good,” Terrance said. “We are excited to play Reno. We just have to keep them off the boards because they have two great post players and we have to knock down some shots.”