Spanish Springs connected on just 16-of-54 (30 percent) field-goal attempts in the key conference loss, including 5-of-19 from 3-point land. With the exception of senior post Dupree Kness, and his 7-of-11 showing from the floor, the rest of the Cougars' roster managed to convert on only 9-of-43 (21 percent) shot attempts.
Guards Kenny Meyer and Jake Longero lead the Cougars in scoring at just over 19 and nine points respectively per game. On Friday at Damonte, they were limited to 12 points and five points. Neither had much success shooting the ball either. Meyer, one of the top shooters in the state, struggled to a 3-of-16 shooting effort while Longero knocked down only one of his nine tries from the field.
"We executed OK in our offense," Spanish Springs coach Kyle Penney said. "We ran our sets and had plenty of open jump shots, some which could've really seized the game. When you don't make those and they turn around and score, it hurts."
In spite of the shooting woes, Spanish Springs gave Sierra League-leading Damonte Ranch all it could handle. A Kness layup at the 3:34 mark of the fourth quarter saw Spanish Springs forge ahead 45-41.
Brett Cooper buried a 3-pointer to key a modest 6-1 Mustangs spurt., but Cougars post Garrett Nauman made 1-of-2 free throws with 2:09 remaining in the contest to deadlock the league tilt at 47-47.
Unfortunately for Spanish Springs, it didn't score again. Damonte Ranch scored the final six points of the game and wrapped up the game by scoring 12 of the final 14 points.
Spanish Springs got off to a solid start through the first four-plus minutes of the matchup. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Meyer and freshman Marcus Loadholt, left the visiting Cougars with a 10-3 lead at the 3:46 mark of the initial period. However, Damonte Ranch responded with 12 unanswered points -- a burst highlighted by back-to-back Cooper treys -- and the hosts wound up with a 15-11 advantage at the first quarter's conclusion.
Spanish Springs outscored Damonte Ranch 14-7 in the second period and was left holding a 25-22 lead at the break.
The game was still tight through the first 4:40 of the third quarter. The Cougars led 29-28 after a layup by Kness with 3:23 showing on the third-quarter clock. From there, the Mustangs put together a string of 10 straight points and forged ahead 38-29. The nine-point margin was the largest lead of the night for either team.
Spanish Springs trailed 38-34 going to the final quarter. Still, the guests weren't fazed. They opened the fourth with an 11-3 outburst to grab their 45-41 lead before Damonte (11-5, 5-2) stole the game late.
Cooper dropped four 3-point bombs and finished with 17 points to pace the Mustangs' offense while his teammate Kyle Daugherty chipped in 12 points.
Kness led Spanish Springs in scoring, posting 14 points in the loss.
The Cougars (10-7, 5-2) return to their home court Tuesday for a meeting with cross-town and High Desert League rival Reed. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.
"We did some good things. We just didn't close out a tough game on the road," Penney said. "But we cant sit around and feel sorry for ourselves. Nobody else is. It's like this every night in league. Now we need to take care of business Tuesday and we'll be right back where need to be, but we must get better over the next couple days and be ready to go for Reed. It wont be easy either."