The Cougars capped their weekend in the High Sierra Winter Challenge with a pair of lopsided victories over Faith Lutheran and Lassen.
After dispatching Faith Lutheran in the early game, Spanish Springs came back and rolled to a 71-43 triumph over Lassen.
“I think the biggest difference is when our guards are playing more cohesively and knocking down some shots, then it opens up our game and helps us get into what we want to do defensively,” SSHS girls basketball coach Christine Eckles said. “They weren’t playing well. I hope we got them back on track today.”
The two teams battled back in forth in the first half of the opening quarter. Spanish Springs started the game with a 3-pointer, but Lassen answered with back-to-back buckets to take a 4-3 lead 1:15 into the game. The California school owned a 6-5 advantage, but that happened to the last time the Cougars trailed.
Neither team led by more than three points in the first quarter until SSHS junior Riley Holladay ripped the twine on a 3-pointer from the corner with 3:43 left in the quarter. Her second trey of the game made the score 12-8 in favor of the Cougars.
Spanish Springs pushed its lead to six, 14-8, on its very next trip down the floor when Holladay pulled up and hit a short-range jumper on the baseline.
The Cougars kept pouring it on though. Spanish Springs finished its 10-0 run with a 3-pointer by Morning Rose Tobey and a fast break layup by Hannah Woytek, increasing the gap to 19-8 with 2:16 on the first-quarter clock.
A pair of free throws by Shayna DelCarlo ended the run by the Purple and White, but Spanish Springs closed out the scoring in the quarter with a trey by Tobey, handing the hosts a 22-10 lead heading into the second quarter.
After Spanish Springs nearly padded its cushion to the 20-point plateau midway through the second quarter, the Grizzlies scored eight of the next 10 points, cutting the deficit to 35-22 with 2:34 to go in the half.
That’s when the Cougars’ reserves answered. A 3-pointer by Mariah Vargas was sandwiched between two follows of their own misses by KK Lang and Laneesha Terrance. The string of seven straight points gave Spanish Springs its first 20-point edge of the game, 42-22, heading into halftime.
Lassen came out with more intensity in the second half. After Spanish Springs braved the initial Grizzly storm that shave six points off its lead, consecutive layups by Sam Owens and one each from Lyndsey Anderson and Tobey got the lead up to 22 for the first time, 54-32, at the 3:15 mark of the third period.
Spanish Springs closed out the third quarter on a 9-0 run, helped mostly by Tobey, who poured in seven points in that spurt, extending the lead to 63-36. The Spanish Springs freshman scored nine of her team-high 15 points in the third.
With 3:50 left in the game, Vargas hit a pull-up jumper for a game-high 30-point lead for the Cougs, 67-37. Spanish Springs led by 30 again with 1:24 to play. 71-41.
Eleven of the 12 players on the Cougars roster scored against the Grizzlies. Holladay and Owens chipped in 13 and 12 points respectively.
“This has been a good weekend. We got a lot of people some playing time. We got to see some different matchups and work on different defenses,” Eckles said. “I’m pleased with that. I feel good about the kids coming off the bench. They can help us be successful.”
In their first game of the day, the Cougars came out sluggish in the first half and exploded after the intermission.
Spanish Springs broke open a 19-15 game at the break by outscoring Faith Lutheran 28-6 in the third quarter of its 59-27 win.
“I thought we came out and got some steals. The game is a lot easier when you’re playing in transition and getting layups,” Eckles said. “I think our kids are getting into their roles. Sam had a good little run there.”
Owens scored all 11 of her points in the third quarter as Spanish Springs built a 47-21 lead after three quarters of action. The Cougars then outscored their opponents 12-6 over the final eight minutes.
Kiley McCourt led all scorers with 16 points, but no one else for Faith Lutheran had more than five.
Anderson finished with 14 to lead the Cougars, while Tobey added 10.
Spanish Springs (7-1) will host cross-town rival Reed Tuesday night at 6 p.m. The Raiders have only played one game this year.