Spanish Springs scored the first 14 points of the game and never looked back en route to a 55-30 road romp at Hug in girls prep basketball action Friday night.
The lopsided High Desert League win concludes the regular season for Spanish Springs. The Cougars sit 20-7 overall and wrapped up their league slate 12-4. It’s just the second 20-win season in the Cougars’ 11-year history. Their only league losses came against perennial Northern 4A powers Reed and Reno, which have combined to win every North title but one since 2003.
“We’ve had a nice season, one of our best at the school,” SSHS veteran coach Christine Eckles said. “I was feeling sentimental. I told the girls after the game tonight how proud of them I am. We’ve done a lot of good things and we’d like to do more.”
The Cougars’ full-court pressure was relentless early. Spanish Springs scored 10 points in less than three minutes to start the contest. A Riley Holladay layup in transition made the score 14-0 in the Cougars’ favor with 4:06 remaining in the first period.
A 3-pointer from SSHS freshman guard MorningRose Tobey ended the first-quarter scoring with the guests on top 19-4.
Spanish Springs forged ahead 26-7 after it got a trey from KK Lang and a pair of fast-break layups from Hannah Woytek in the first 1:15 of the second quarter.
“We got off to a great start and that’s because our defense fueled our offense,” Eckles said. “We forced turnovers. We got out and ran our lanes and then we finished.”
The scoring pace slowed into halftime as Spanish Springs backed off its full-court pressure and started to get its reserves more time. Hug trimmed the lead to 15, 26-11, after it scored the next seven points.
The hosts would never be that close again. In fact, Hug, which suited up only five players on the night, did not score again until the second half.
Spanish Springs got putbacks from Sam Owens and Holladay before the intermission and took a 30-11 lead into the locker room at the break.
The Cougars scored 10 of the first 12 points of the third period. Another Tobey 3-point bomb ended that burst and saw the SSHS hoopsters forge ahead 40-15. Hug was never able to threaten through the remainder of the conference clash.
The Cougars got a balanced offensive effort. Nine of 11 players on the roster scored. Tobey, Holladay and Lyndsey Anderson all finished with 11 points for the Sparks school.
The Cougars held the advantage in nearly statistical category. They outshot Hug 42 percent (23-55) to 26 percent (13-50). Spanish Springs forced 23 turnovers, most of them early in the first half, while giving away 16. The visitors also grabbed a 46-36 rebounding edge.
“We still need to rebound better and we can protect the ball better,” Eckles said. “We need to be sharper in the regional tournament, but we are capable of that and I think the girls are excited for the next challenge.”
Spanish Springs opens postseason play Tuesday on the road against Sierra League runner-up Carson. Tip-off for the Northern 4A first-round tournament tilt is set for 7 p.m.