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Late onslaught propels Spanish Springs to blowout of McQueen
by Dan Eckles
Jan 14, 2014 | 877 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela - SSHS senior point guard Kenny Meyer drives baseline while McQueen's Bryce Harnack pursues the first-half action Tuesday night.
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela - SSHS senior point guard Kenny Meyer drives baseline while McQueen's Bryce Harnack pursues the first-half action Tuesday night.
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The Spanish Springs boys basketball team never trailed in its High Desert League home meeting against McQueen Tuesday night. Still, it took the Cougars a while to take firm control of the game, but when they finally did get the momentum, there was no giving it up.

Spanish Springs put together a 30-point fourth-quarter outburst and pulled away from McQueen in the final six-plus minutes en route to posting a 74-42 romp in the conference clash.

Spanish Springs led 44-29 after three quarters but outscored McQueen 30-13 in the fourth quarter, accounting for the final lopsided margin.

McQueen got a putback from Evan Carlson at the 6:52 mark of the fourth period to trim the Spanish Springs' lead to 12, 46-34. The visiting Lancers would never be that close again as the Cougars ended the game on a 28-8 run.

Spanish Springs pushed its lead over 20, 57-36, for the first time on a Hunter Pinto layup with 4:19 remaining in the game. On McQueen's next possession, Taylor Matthews connected on a 3-pointer, making the score 57-39 with 4:11 left.

The hosts poured it on from there, ripping off 13 straight points and scoring 17 of the game's final 20 points.

Spanish Springs went to the foul line 19 times in the fourth quarter alone and knocked down 14 of those. It finished 16-of-25 from the charity stripe. Conversely, McQueen was 8-of-18 at the free-throw line.

"That's about the time (early fourth quarter) Delon Buncio fouled out for us, and when he left the game, so did our toughness," sixth-year McQueen coach John Franklin said. "We basically couldn't buy a shot. They went to the free-throw line and made theirs. We went to the free-throw line and missed. They got some separation and we hung our heads and didn't compete. And they did. Spanish Springs played well. I can't take anything away from them."

The 74 points ties a season-high offensive output for Spanish Springs, which previously turned the trick in a 74-61 victory over Coronado of Henderson in a San Diego tournament last month. Spanish Springs shot a scorching 27-of-44 (61 percent) from the field. It made 23 of the 33 (70 percent) shots it took from inside the 3-point arc.

Eleven different Cougars found the scoring column, including senior point guard Kenny Meyer, who led all scorers with in 21 points. He also contributed eight assists, five rebounds and four steals to the winning cause.

"Kenny Meyer got them early separation. He got them late separation. He played a stellar basketball game," Franklin said. "And he didn't force anything. When he didn't have a shot, he made the right pass. He did everything right tonight."

Spanish Springs took the lead seven seconds after the opening tip on a Jake Longero runner. A bucket off of a spinning post-up move by Dupree Kness gave the Cougars a 4-0 lead 30 seconds into the conference clash.

The score was still tight, with Spanish Springs leading 10-7, after a runner by McQueen's Bryce Harnack at the 3:40 mark of the first period. The Cougars proceeded to score six of the next eight points and held a 16-9 edge at the conclusion of the first quarter.

The Cougars scored the first eight points in the second quarter and wound up outscoring the Lancers 15-6 in the period to grab a 31-15 advantage at the intermission.

A sloppy third quarter by both teams saw McQueen outscore Spanish Springs 14-13, setting the stage for the Cougars' late scoring barrage.

In addition to the Meyer's 21 points, Spanish Springs got 15 points from Kness, who also grabbed seven rebounds, and 13 points from Longero.

"Dupree was good and so were a lot of guys," Cougars coach Kyle Penney said. "We're getting more contributions from more guys, but we've got a long way to go. We're not playing great. We've got a lot we can get better at, but that's a good thing. We don't want to peak right now. We want to keep getting better."

Matthews finished with 14 points but was the lone player to score in double figures for McQueen (5-11, 2-5).

Tuesday marked the seventh time in 16 games Spanish Springs had held an opponent under 50 points. The win is the fifth in a row for Spanish Springs, which improved to 10-6 overall and 5-1 in league play. The Cougars, who played a preseason schedule packed with California tournaments, have played only three home games this winter, but remained perfect on their home floor.

The SSHS cagers return to the hardwood Friday for a DI North crossover league encounter at Damonte Ranch.

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