With the game knotted at 20-20 two minutes into the second quarter, Spanish Springs all-league forward Brandon Delong picked up his third foul. That sent the talented swingman to the bench. It also sent the SSHS offense into a tailspin.
Delong drilled a jumper to knot the score at 20-20 at the second-quarter’s 6:43 mark, just before picking up his third foul. Spanish Springs did not score again until Brian Smith got a bucket at the 2:05 mark.
During that span, Manogue reeled off 13 unanswered points. The visiting Miners wound up taking a 12-point edge into the locker room at the intermission, 36-24.
“That’s what we do all the time,” Miners coach Bill Ballinger said. “I want our kids to be like sharks. I want them to smell blood. Delong is if not the best, one of the best, players in the North. I was glad we held him down to what we did.
“To come here and play Spanish Springs, with the guys they have, it’s a big W. It means a lot mentally to these kids.”
The win was Bishop Manogue’s first of the young season as it dropped its first three games in a tough tournament last weekend hosted by Sacramento’s Jesuit High.
Bishop Manogue continued to dominate play through the first five-plus minutes of the third period. The Miners got a putback from Dominick Marazzo that gave them a 49-34 advantage with 2:46 showing on the third-quarter clock.
That’s when the Cougars (3-1, 1-1) began to again show some fight. They put together a modest 7-0 run in the final 2:06 of the third period and began to claw their way back into contention.
Manogue took a 49-41 lead into the final quarter, but Spanish Springs continued to turn the tide. A steal and layup by Jake Longero trimmed the Miners’ lead to two, 51-49.
The visitors forged ahead by six, 59-53 when Chase Hallem converted on a 3-point play at the fourth quarter’s 3:16 mark.
Still, Spanish Springs had one last push. The hosts cut the margin to a bucket, 59-57 after Kenny Meyer drained two foul shots with 55 seconds remaining in the contest.
That’s as good as it got for Spanish Springs. Manogue scored six of the game’s final seven points to put the conference clash away.
“The second half is a bright spot in that we came back tough, but we, me included, have to get ready to play in a big game.” Spanish Springs coach Kyle Penney said.
The game went back and forth early on. Spanish Springs led 8-6 three minutes into the contest, but Manogue responded to grab a 12-8 lead. A 7-2 SSHS spurt closed the initial period and left the hosts leading 15-14.
Delong torched the Manogue defense for a game-high 27 points despite seeing limited minutes due to the foul trouble.
“Foul trouble was huge. You get Brandon on the bench and we didn’t score for four minutes. Other guys have to be ready to step up,” Penney said.
Hallem led Manogue with 19 points while Marrazzo chipped in 12.
Spanish Springs is back in action Thursday when it plays at Elko at 7:30 p.m. in the EHS tourney.