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Cougars crush Panthers
by Dan Eckles
Jan 07, 2011 | 918 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Spanish Springs junior Brandon Delong (in white with ball) drives by North Valleys’ Jake Lawson during first-half action Friday.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Spanish Springs junior Brandon Delong (in white with ball) drives by North Valleys’ Jake Lawson during first-half action Friday.
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The Spanish Springs Cougars made sure the winter struggles of North Valleys continued Friday night. The SSHS hoopsters handed visiting North Valleys a 76-52 shellacking and kept the Panthers winless on the season (0-11, 0-6).

Meanwhile, Spanish Springs improved to 7-8 overall and 4-2 in conference clashes with the easy win.

"It's a league win and you have to be happy about any league win you get," Spanish Springs coach Kyle Penney said. "We showed some improvement in some areas and looked real good at times, but then we'd hurt ourselves too. We could've buried them in the first half, but we didn't. Then you have to give them some credit too. They hit some key buckets to keep it within striking distance."

Spanish Springs never trailed and the game was never tied after the first four minutes of play. The last tie came at 7-7 when Panthers guard Vince Gutierrez knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner.

The host Cougars went on to score 11 of the next 15 points in a span of just over four minutes. The mini run was capped when Matt Beebe dropped in a layup for the first bucket of the second quarter. It came with 7:46 to go in the first half and saw Spanish Springs forge ahead 20-11.

The Cougars extended their edge to double digits for the first time, 24-13, following a Brandon Delong trey at the 5:55 mark of the second period. Unfortunately for Spanish Springs fans, their Cougars could not shake North Valleys before halftime. A modest 10-5 Panthers outburst saw the visitors trim the SSHS lead to 35-29 at the intermission.

Spanish Springs began to pull away in the third. At the quarter's conclusion, the Cougars had pushed their lead to 12, 51-39.

It got ugly for North Valleys in the final quarter. Spanish Springs poured in 25 points in the period. The Panthers put up the first bucket of the fourth, a 3-pointer by Jordan Diguilio from the corner. The long-range jumper got the margin into single digits, 51-42, but it was all downhill from there for the NVHS crew.

Spanish Springs proceeded to go on a 15-2 spurt that nixed any hopes North Valleys had of coming back. A pair of Delong foul shots ended the run, leaving the Cougars with a 66-44 advantage midway through the last period.

The final 24-point margin was the widest gap of the game.

"Spanish Springs' size hurt us," first-year North Valleys coach Richard Peraldo said. "And we're without our biggest guy. His 15 points and 10 rebounds a night doesn't help you much when it's sitting on the bench.

"They shot the ball lights out. They shot it well. You have to give them credit for that."

The 76-point outing comes three days after the Cougars struggled to get 46 in an ugly 10-point win over Galena Tuesday. Against the Grizz, the Cougars managed just 10 first-half points.

"In the second half we ran some set plays and took care of the ball a whole lot better," Penney said. "We didn't turn it over a lot in the first half, but we couldn't finish in transition. In the second half, we did that. We got easy buckets and got to the foul line. We ran some sets and executed pretty well."

Delong had 20 points to pace the Spanish Springs offense. He got some help with 14 points from Connor Naisbitt and 11 more from Ryan Swanson. Ten Cougars found the scoring column in the lopsided win.

Diguilio and Gled Bautista put up 12 and 11 points respectively to lead North Valleys.

Spanish Springs goes to Reno for an HDL tilt Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

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