His fears were realized as the Cougars struggled through much of the first half and were saddled with a 71-64 defeat by Clovis North of suburban Fresno. Spanish Springs found itself facing a 30-13 deficit late in the second quarter before it finally began to gain some traction. The SSHS cagers reeled off the final 11 points of the first half to trim Clovis North's advantage to 30-24 by halftime.
"We didn't get out of the van," Penney said sarcastically, alluding to his team's sloppy play initially. "We had 19 turnovers in the first half alone. We missed shots. We were not ready to play early on. They came out with good pressure and it took us a half to get back in it."
Both teams got hot in the third period. Spanish Springs still won the quarter, 29-26, cutting the CNHS lead to 56-53 with a quarter still remaining.
Spanish Springs caught and passed Clovis North on several occasions but could not pull away. The Cougars' last lead came at 61-60 before Clovis North finished the game on an 11-3 spurt.
Kenny Meyer turned in a team-high 17-point performance for Spanish Springs while his Cougars teammates Hunter Fralick and Jake Longero each found double figures in the scoring column as well, chipping in 15 and 10 points.
Spanish Springs (3-3) will play Downey High of Modesto, Friday, at 6:30 p.m.