It didn’t get any better.
The Eagles went up by double digits before the two teams reached the midway point of the first quarter — and the visitors never looked back, cruising to a 74-45 victory in Day 2 action of the High Sierra Winter Challenge, co-hosted by SSHS.
“We hoped to play a lot better in the first half, but they just came out and stomped us,” SSHS girls basketball coach Christine Eckles said. “We didn’t have a response for it, which isn’t necessarily the personality of this team. I thought we did a much better job in the second half and played with much better intensity.
“You just can’t allow a team to do anything they want to do, and part of that is because they’re a good team. They executed well, so it was a good test for us. I’d give us a failing grade in the first half and at least a passing grade in the second.”
The Cougars finally got on the scoreboard after 3:10 ticked off the clock on a baseline jumper by Riley Holladay. But the 8-2 score was the closest the game would be the rest of the evening.
Pleasant Grove took its first double-digit lead when Avonna Lee knocked down a jumper on the baseline, increasing its lead to 12-2 with 4:10 remaining in the first quarter.
Spanish Springs trailed 16-4 after the first eight minutes and did not make a shot from the field for about 10 minutes. The hosts knocked down a pair of free throws during that span in which Pleasant Grove built a 35-6 edge with a 23-2 run.
While Pleasant Grove showed it could score on fast breaks and with putbacks, the California school began knocking down shots from the outside in the second quarter, which helped it claim a 41-14 lead at the break. Four different Pleasant Grove players combined to make five 3-pointers in the second quarter.
The bright spot for the Cougars came in the final minute and a half of the first half. Hannah Woytek scored on a layup to end the long shooting drought and Spanish Springs outscored its opponent 8-6 during that time.
The Purple and White still needed to find a way to counter Pleasant Grove’s superiority and chip away at the 27-point halftime deficit. The Cougars did score 31 points in the second half compared to only 14 in the first.
“We just talked about playing harder, stop standing around and move the basketball. They’re a good team, but so are we and we needed to come out create a better intensity level,” Eckles said of the halftime talk.
Spanish Springs temporarily got some momentum going, scoring five of the first eight points of the second half. However, that just fired up the PGHS coaching staff, leading to a heated timeout.
That woke up the Eagles and they matched what had been their game-high lead of 29 points, 50-21, at the midway point of the third quarter.
Neither team ended up making up any ground in the third quarter as the teams went into the fourth separated by the same 27-point margin (57-30) they started the period.
It was all Pleasant Grove in the early going of the fourth quarter.
A 12-3 run padded the cushion to the largest amount of the game, 34 points. After the Eagles went ahead 69-35 with 3:52 to play in the game, Morning Rose Tobey helped the home team cut the deficit back under 30 points. The SSHS freshman had a pair of three-point plays in the fourth quarter and scored eight of her team-high 11 points in the final eight minutes. She also swiped seven steals.
Woytek and Lyndsey Anderson both had nine points in the losing cause. Anderson pulled down seven rebounds, but Spanish Springs was still out-rebounded 44-33.
Pleasant Grove (3-0) had four players reach double figures in the scoring column led by Marissa Wimbley’s 15. Dejza James chipped in 14, while both Lee and Rachel Beebe had 10.
Spanish Springs (5-1) is back in action today when it hosts Faith Lutheran at 11:30 a.m. and Lassen of Susanville at 4 p.m.