The Cougars racked up 21 first-quarter points and never trailed after the first five minutes en route to a 69-30 romp over Atwater, Calif. in girls prep basketball action.
Spanish Springs (2-2, 1-1) had managed just 29 and 30 points in its previous two affairs, losses to Colfax, Calif. and Bishop Manogue.
Atwater (3-2) beat Spanish Springs for a pair of back-to-back transition baskets that gave the visiting Falcons an early 9-5 lead. That’s as good as it got for the guests. Spanish Springs put together a 16-3 spurt and never trailed again.
"We were better tonight," Spanish Springs coach Christine Eckles said. "But we've still got a long way to go to reach our goals. Still, after a couple tough losses, it was nice to get a win."
Atwater got a putback from Melissa Valentino to open the second-quarter scoring and trim the Spanish Springs lead to 21-15, 30 seconds into the period. The Falcons were never that close again.
Spanish Springs held its California foe scoreless over the next seven minutes. Meanwhile, the Cougars reeled off 14 unanswered points. SSHS sophomore Chrissy Beebe canned 1-of-2 foul shots with 1:33 to go before halftime to cap the outburst that left the hosts on top 35-15.
The Cougars did not let up. They scored the first 10 points of the third period and finished the quarter outscoring the Falcons 15-3.
A unit made up largely of Cougar reserves won the fourth quarter as well, outscoring Atwater, 18-10 in the last eight minutes of play. The final margin of 39 points was the widest gap of the contest.
Spanish Springs helped its cause by forcing 36 Atwater turnovers Thursday. The Cougars also dominated on the glass, out-rebounding the Falcons 44-26. Additionally, Spanish Springs shot 26-of-55 (47 percent) from the floor, compared to 11-of-38 (29 percent) for Atwater.
Sophomore guard Sam Owens finished with a game-high 18 points, a career high during her year-plus of varsity experience at the local school. Sophomore forward Lyndsey Anderson added 11 points and eight rebounds to the winning cause.
"Sam had one of her best games in a Cougar uniform. She was aggressive on both ends of the floor. That's how we need her to play every night."
Spanish Springs will meet Elko today at 6 p.m. in another Challenge game.
•In another first-day tourney tilt, Reed rolled to a 60-32 triumph over Spring Creek Thursday night. The Raiders were never threatened. They bolted to a 23-6 advantage after one quarter and left the Spartans in their dust.
“Our press was key,” Reed coach Sara Schopper said. “Hopefully it gets us in the rhythm we want to play. It did tonight. In the first few minutes of the game, we set what tempo we wanted to play. I thought we did a good job with our hands up and anticipating. It created turnovers.”
Reed extended its edge to 43-16 by halftime and Spring Creek never got closer than 20 in the second half.
Micah Walker led three Raiders in double figures, finishing with 15 points. Tyler Sumpter contributed 11 and Nyasha LeSure 10 for Reed, which improved to 3-0 thanks to the lopsided victory.
Reed meets Casa Roble of Orangevale, Calif. today at 4:30 p.m. at Reno High.