The first period saw Carson get off to a 9-4 lead five minutes into the game. Unfortunately for the guests, Spanish Springs reeled off 18 straight points and took firm control of the game.
“I didn’t know it was quite that big of a run,” Penney said. “We hit some shots and made a couple threes. We forced some turnovers but did not convert them as well as we should have. We have to find a way to do a better job of that.”
Five different Cougars scored in the spurt. Kenny Meyer capped the run with a 3-pointer from the wing that gave the hosts a 22-9 lead with 2:44 to go before halftime.
“They just did a better job against our zone,” Carson coach Carlos Mendeguia said. “They found seams and started attacking our weak side. We didn’t adjust and that opened up some things.”
Spanish Springs took a 24-14 lead into the locker room at the intermission.
Carson (5-17, 1-12) scored the first two baskets of the second half to get within six, 24-18, but Spanish Springs scored six of the next eight points after Jake Longero drained a 3-pointer for a 30-20 Spanish Springs advantage.
Still, it took the SSHS hoopsters a while to pull away. A 3-point play from Carson’s Rafe King at the 7:39 mark of the fourth period got the CHS crew within nine, 39-30, but they could get no closer.
The margin was still 10, 44-34, after a King trey with 2:40 remaining in the conference clash. Spanish Springs sealed the victory with four straight free throws and a Zach Shaw layup.
“We made some adjustments with our zone offense and when we did make spurts, it was because of those adjustments,” Penney said. “Credit Carson for staying in the game. We didn’t play real well but we found a way to win by 16. At the end of the night, the kids did what they were supposed to.”
King led all scorers with 19 points. In fact, he was the game’s lone player to score in double digits. No other Carson player even had more than four.
“We kind of go as Rafe goes,” Mendeguia said. “When he gets going we usually get a little contagious, but we struggled to score all season. Tonight, Spanish Springs did a good job in its half-court defense. They took away our cutters.”
Longero and Brandon Delong led the Cougars’ offensive effort with nine points each. Eight different Cougars did have four or more points in the balanced outing.
Spanish Springs improved to 12-10 overall with the win and gets over the .500 mark for the first time in league play this season, sitting 7-6.