The Cougars watched the Raiders score almost immediately off the opening tip and the SSHS cagers had to play catch-up the rest of the night. In the end, Reed pulled away in the second half for a 77-57 road win, in just its second game of the season.
Reed’s sophomore sensation Gabby Williams was going to need to be controlled by the Cougars if the hosts had any aspirations of achieving the upset victory. However, Williams looked uncontrollable before picking up her second foul and being forced to the bench for the final two minutes of the first quarter.
Prior to that, Williams dished out five assists and scored five points of her own as Reed surged to a 16-5 lead before reaching the midway point of the first quarter.
The Raiders enjoyed a 13-point edge three different times in the first — the last being with 32 seconds left in the period.
That’s when Spanish Springs cut into the lead in a big way. Sam Owens knocked down a 3-pointer to close out the first-quarter’s scoring. Then KK Lang opened up the second with a trey, which turned into an 8-0 run by the Cougs, slicing the deficit down to five, 22-17, with 6:45 to go in the first half.
“Our game plan was to play Spanish Springs basketball. We just wanted to play our game,” SSHS girls basketball coach Christine Eckles said. “I think we are good enough to go do what we want to do. We make adjustments as the game goes on. I thought there were some bright points. We broke pressure real well. We hit some shots early. We allowed our defense to get us some easy buckets, and those are things we want to do.”
Williams’ foul trouble worsened a little over a minute later as she picked up her third foul at the 5:25 mark and sat for three and a half minutes. Reed still led 28-20 and even pushed the gap back up to double digits.
“For the second game, it was a good test,” Reed girls basketball coach Sara Schopper said. “It showed us if we lose her, what are we going to do, what adjustments are we going to make. Gabby had to make adjustments to how she was going to play with three or four fouls, and I thought she did that. It was a good learning experience.”
But Williams’ presence was sorely missed as Spanish Springs used its defense to turn turnovers into points.
A Morning Rose Tobey steal and breakaway initiated a 6-0 spurt by the Cougars and left the home team trailing by only two points, 34-32, with under a minute to play in the half. Over the next six minutes, Spanish Springs was outscored 21-6, proving to be the difference in its second loss of the season.
With Williams back in the game running the Raider offense, Reed increased its lead back up to seven, 39-32, at the break. Sierra Hooft scored down low and then with 5 seconds on the clock, Williams found her behind the arc for an open 3-pointer and Williams’ seventh assist of the half.
The Raiders got the second half started off the way they wanted. Tyler Sumpter drained a 3-pointer from the corner off an inbounds pass from the sideline. The long-range shot made it a double-digit game again, 42-32.
“We just changed up our defense a little bit and talked about what we were looking for, and what we wanted to shut down and execute on offense. We went out there and I thought we did that,” Schopper said.
The momentum didn’t stop there.
Reed more than doubled its halftime lead by the halfway point of the third after a Hooft putback increased the visitors’ advantage to 54-38 with 4:01 to play in the period. A Sumpter free throw a minute later capped the 21-6 rally and led to what was a game-high 17-point margin to that point.
The Raiders entered the final eight minutes of action leading 57-43. Spanish Springs never got it closer than 13 points.
“I think there’s some things as a team we have to evaluate but also as a coach. There are some adjustments we can make as a team to take care of that,” Eckles said. “I think it’s fixable stuff. Obviously our effort in the second half defensively wasn’t what it needed to be in order to beat Reed tonight.
“They’re a good team. They know their roles. We’re a young team. It’s not even Christmas break. The things we need to work on are the things they already understand. I’m pleased with our effort and the things we did. I really think we’re going to get to the point where we’re competitive against a team like Reed or some of the other top teams. I don’t think we have anything to hang our heads about.”
In the last two minutes of the contest, Reed grabbed a pair of 19-point leads on a perfect trip to the charity stripe by Williams and also a runner by the point guard before a Hooft free throw with under a minute remaining accounted for the final 20-point margin of the game.
Hooft led all scorers with 25 points, while Sumpter and Williams added 17 points apiece and Nyasha LeSure chipped in 12.
In the losing cause, Spanish Springs got balanced scoring from its starters. Anderson paced the Cougars with 14. Owens had 13. Tobey and Riley Holladay contributed 12 and 10 respectively.
Reed (2-0) travels to Reno for a 6 p.m. clash Friday night. Spanish Springs (7-2, 2-1 in Northern 4A) is also on the road Friday. Tip-off at McQueen is scheduled for 6 p.m.