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Cougars run by Panthers, 70-37
by Tribune Staff
Dec 23, 2011 | 953 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by Nathan Orme - Spanish Springs junior Riley Holladay (3) defends North Valleys’ Monserat Quinonez during first-half action of Thursday’s Cougars league win.
Tribune photo by Nathan Orme - Spanish Springs junior Riley Holladay (3) defends North Valleys’ Monserat Quinonez during first-half action of Thursday’s Cougars league win.
RENO — The Spanish Springs girls basketball team is red hot to start its winter campaign. That’s evident by its 10-2 start that includes five league wins in six tries. Both marks are the best in the program’s 11-year history.

The latest Spanish Springs win came Thursday night in a conference clash at North Valleys where the SSHS club drilled its High Desert League rivals 70-37.

The Cougars got off to a blazing start. A baseline jumper by Sam Owens gave the guests a 17-2 lead less than six minutes into the game.

North Valleys tried to hang around. The Panthers mounted a 12-1 run over the next four minutes. Panthers senior guard Monserat Quinonez capped the North Valleys spurt with a 3-pointer at the 5:55 mark of the second quarter, pulling her Panthers within four, 18-14.

They were never that close again. Spanish Springs, which has had a bit of a penchant for letting opponents hang around during the season’s first month, made sure that didn’t happen Thursday. The Cougars reeled off 15 of the next 17 points and took a 33-16 edge into the locker room at the intermission.

“The girls played really well,” Spanish Springs coach Christine Eckles said. “It was fun to watch them play hard defensively and share the ball on offense. We have not had a killer instinct much this season. They made that early run, but we answered and took care of business the rest of the way.”

Spanish Springs kept pouring it on. The Cougars pushed their lead to 24, 44-20, after a Lyndsey Anderson jumper midway through the third period. The scoreboard read 52-29 in the Sparks school’s favor at the third quarter’s conclusion.

North Valleys scored the first bucket of the fourth period, but Spanish Springs never let go of the momentum. The Cougars put together an 18-4 outburst that ended on a KK Lang trey with just under a minute to go in the contest. The 3-point bomb gave Spanish Springs its biggest advantage of the night at 35 points, 70-35.

The Cougars have gotten balanced offense throughout the early going of the season and that didn’t change Thursday. Ten of 11 Spanish Springs players scored and four hit for double digits in the scoring column.

Anderson and Hannah Woytek both scored 12 points while Sam Owens and MorningRose Tobey each chipped in 11 points. The Cougars’ second-leading scorer on the season, Riley Holladay, had just six points but dished out 11 assists in the lopsided affair. That mark tied a Cougars’ single game school record.

“We have a lot of kids that can score and find each other when they’re open,” Eckles said. “That’s shown in our balanced scoring so far this year. There’s no reason it should not continue if we keep playing hard and unselfish basketball.”

Spanish Springs dominated the stat sheet. The Cougars forced 32 North Valleys turnovers while committing only 11. In addition, Spanish Springs won the war on the boards 45-40, helping its cause by grabbing 24 offensive boards.

The Cougars finished 28-of-77 from the field (36 percent) while North Valleys was 17-of-41 (41 percent).

“We always preach defend, rebound and take care of the basketball and the offense takes care of itself,” Eckles said. “We did those things tonight … This was a good win tonight. It’s a lot better feeling going into Christmas with a win than a loss.”

Spanish Springs will get the weekend off to celebrate the Christmas holiday but returns to action Monday in southern California when it competes in the Larry Doyle Classic hosted by Marina High School in Huntington Beach. The Cougars open the tourney against traditionally tough J-Serra Catholic High School at 4:30 p.m.
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