“We scheduled this game so we did not have a long layoff between games over our holiday break,” Spanish Springs coach Christine Eckles said. “All of our kids got to play good minutes. Hopefully, it helps keep us sharp.”
Yerington’s Angela Sciarani got a layup to fall 50 seconds into the game and that gave the visiting Lions an early 2-0 edge. It was the small school’s only lead of the contest.
The Yerington bucket proved as a quick wake-up call for the hosts and Spanish Springs proceeded to rip off 25 unanswered points in a span of just over five minutes.
Freshman guard Morning Rose Tobey keyed the fast start for Spanish Springs, scoring 10 points, including a pair of treys, in the 25-0 run.
Yerington (6-8) put up back-to-back buckets in a 20-second span in the final minute of the first quarter but Cougars sophomore reserve guard Myrissa Prince responded with a basket of her own and the Cougars held a 27-6 advantage at the conclusion of the initial period.
Spanish Springs did not let up. A pair of junior reserve posts, Kristina Stocking and Laneesha Terrance, both scored six points in the second quarter as Spanish Springs outscored its guests 21-5 in the second eight minutes of action en route to capturing a 48-11 edge at the intermission.
Just over a minute into the second half, Spanish Springs forced turnovers on consecutive Yerington possessions. The result was a pair of break-away layups by Cougars point guard Hannah Woytek. That made the scoreboard read 52-11 with 6:37 remaining in the third period.
The layups forged Spanish Springs into a lead of 40-plus points and put Nevada’s new mercy rule into effect. Any time a team leads by 40 or more points in the second half, the clock will run continuously throughout the remainder of the contest.
The running clock accounted for a big reason why the Cougars poured in 48 points before halftime but only 13 points after it.
The 15 points scored by an opponent is the fewest ever allowed by Spanish Springs in the 11-year history of its program. That breaks the old mark of 16 scored by Sparks against Spanish Springs in January of 2003 and South Tahoe in December of 2010.
“That’s a nice stat but it doesn’t mean a whole lot. The running clock contributed to that,” Eckles said. “Our kids came out, played hard and took care of business.They did what they were supposed to do. That’s what I’m happy about because that hasn’t always been the case in the past.”
The Cougars helped their cause by forcing Yerington into 37 turnovers. Spanish Springs also got up twice as many shots as its YHS foes. The Cougars finished 26-of-67 (38.8 percent) from the field while limiting the Lions to 6-of-33 (18.2 percent).
Spanish Springs improves to 13-4 on its winter campaign. That marks the first time the Cougars have been nine games over the .500 mark since the 2007-08 season when the SSHS club reached the Northern 4A semifinals and finished 20-10. The Sparks school is 5-1 in league play.
Tobey finished with a game-high 13 points for Spanish Springs while Woytek added 12 and Riley Holladay chipped 11. Holladay gave away seven assists and Tobey racked up six steals in the lopsided tilt.
No Yerington player had more than four points in defeat.
Wednesday’s win was the final non-league game of the year for the Cougars, who have 11 games left on their schedule, all conference clashes. Spanish Springs returns to action Tuesday when it hosts perennial Northern 4A power Reno (14-3, 4-1) at 6 p.m.
“That’s a big game for us,” Eckles said. “We’ve talked about climbing the mountain and trying to reach the peak with the elite teams in the area. We need to practice hard each and every day if we want to compete with the best and reach our goals.”