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Spanish Springs can't overcome offensive woes
by Dan Eckles
Jan 11, 2011 | 882 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by Nathan Orme - Spanish Springs freshman guard Jake Longero (with ball) works against a Reno defender during first-half action.
Tribune photo by Nathan Orme - Spanish Springs freshman guard Jake Longero (with ball) works against a Reno defender during first-half action.
The Spanish Springs Cougars probably thought a lid was on their offensive basket Tuesday night. They struggled to score through most of the game and were handed a 53-42 defeat at Reno in boys prep basketball action.

Spanish Springs managed just seven points in each of the first three quarters and found itself trailing 39-21 going to the fourth quarter. The Cougars did put up 21 fourth-quarter points in a stretch of eight minutes that featured mostly reserves on both sides. That made the scoreboard look a little more respectable but the SSHS squad never really threatened after halftime.

"I felt like we just had a lot of good ball pressure defensively," Reno coach Kyle Schellin said. "They have guys that can shoot the three and some size under the basket so we had to have good ball pressure. If you give them time and space, they can carve you up for layups."

Neither team could get much going early. The game was tied at fives after Spanish Springs junior Tremor Shetrowski knocked down a 3-pointer with 2:17 to go in the first quarter.

The Cougars (7-9, 4-3), who never led, were never even tied the rest of the way.

Following Shetrowski's 3-pointer, Reno responded with a 13-2 outburst to forge ahead 18-7. Luke Medeiros made 1 of 2 foul shots for the Huskies (6-5, 5-2) to cap the run at the 4:03 mark of the second quarter.

Despite their woes, the Cougars did not roll over and play dead. They scored seven of the final 10 points before halftime and went into the locker room trailing by just seven, 21-14.

The two teams traded buckets to a 23-16 score 40 seconds into the third period, but it got ugly from there for Spanish Springs. Reno reeled off 16 unanswered points over the next seven minutes. Robert Lujan's layup concluded the telltale run that saw the RHS crew extend its lead to 21, 39-18.

Spanish Springs freshman Jake Longero nailed a 3-pointer as time expired on the third-quarter to finally end the Cougars drought.

The margin was still 20, 45-25 after Reno converted 1 of 2 free throws with 5:29 remaining in the contest.

Spanish Springs did outscore Reno 17-8 the rest of the way but it proved far too little too late.

"Their on-ball defense was pretty good," Spanish Springs coach Kyle Penney said. "We didn't know if we were going to get it across half court or if we did, what we'd do with it. That really affected us, especially in the second half.

"In the first half, it was our inability to hit shots that hurt us. We had open shots, but we weren't ready to score. Our hands weren't ready to catch."

The Cougars’ offensive woes weren't helped by the fact that their top two scorers, Brandon Delong and Ryan Swanson, played less than half the game after seeing their court time limited due to foul trouble.

"That was huge," Penney said. "Our two best players didn't play basically the whole game. Swanson makes us go. We have to have him on the court … We just weren't on the same page as a unit. We were our own worst enemy."

Shetrowski scored 11 points and Delong chipped in 10 toward the Cougars' losing cause.

David Abittan was Reno's leading scorer, posting 15 points in the win. Jake Pinocchio and Medeiros added 11 and 10 respectively for the Huskies.

Spanish Springs hosts Damonte Ranch in a Northern 4A crossover league game Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
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