Maybe he should start a fortune telling business because he could not have been more right.
Despite trailing for much of the final three quarters, Spanish Springs pulled out a 54-50 High Desert League victory at Reed Saturday. The win clinches the HDL's No. 3 playoff seed for the SSHS crew and saddles Reed with the HDL's fourth and final playoff berth.
Spanish Springs trailed 50-49 with 11.7 seconds remaining in the conference clash. That's when the game got a bit controversial. Cougars forward Adam Miller stepped to the line after being fouled in the backcourt.
Reed coach Dustin Hall, who had already been whistled for a technical foul in the first half, called his players together to discuss strategy while Miller went to the charity stripe. Officials called the Raiders to line up for the foul shots. When they continued to talk with Hall, Miller was given the ball and allowed to shoot.
He missed that initial attempt, but since Reed was not lined up, the Raiders were called for a technical foul. The officials then huddled together and negated the technical foul call. Instead, they called Reed for a lane violation, the correct interpretation of the rule.
Miller proceeded to cash in on his second opportunity. He buried the ensuing two free throws to put Spanish Springs on top 51-50.
Reed turned the ball over twice in the waning seconds and Spanish Springs knocked down 3 of 4 free throws to account for the final margin.
"I knew something funny might happen," Penney said. "I looked at that schedule the first time and saw us at Reed on the final day, a Saturday. We were fortunate to win."
Conversely, Reed's first-year coach was less than thrilled with the outcome.
"I'm still unclear about the rule. No one would explain it to me," a frustrated Hall said. "It's my fault for not being clear about the rule. That's a huge play. He missed the first free throw, but then gets a second chance and makes two. I have to shoulder some of the blame."
Spanish Springs pulled out the key win despite scoring just two points in the second quarter and managing just one field goal in the fourth quarter.
Reed had firm control of the game at halftime, leading 28-18. A 19-2 Reed surge that bridged the first and second periods was the biggest reason for the double-digit margin at intermission.
Spanish Springs went on top 13-9 after a Ryan Romine layup with 1:30 to go in the first period. Reed responded by reeling off the next 10 points in less than a minute and a half.
Spanish Springs junior guard Thomas Perkins dropped in a layup at the 6:23 mark of the second quarter, following a Reed turnover. It was the Cougars' only points in the second quarter as Reed posted the last nine points before the break.
The visiting Cougars got themselves back in the game by dominating the first three-plus minutes of the second half. Spanish Springs opened the third period with a 16-4 outburst, spurred by a pair of treys from senior Taelor Marchbanks.
The second three-point bomb saw the Cougars trim Reed's lead to one, 32-31.
"They knocked some shots down," Hall said, commenting on the Cougars' early second-half flurry. "In the first half, I think they only hit one outside shot. But in the second half, they made some adjustments and tried to spread us out. They came out with a little more intensity."
The Raiders were hurt by some sloppy play in that stretch. After committing just four turnovers in the entire first half, Reed had four giveaways in the first 2:10 of the second half.
Reed found a way to stop the bleeding. The Raiders righted the ship and got out of the third period still with the lead, 41-38.
Dan Lide connected on 3 of 4 foul shots on back-to-back trips to the free-throw line to put Spanish Springs ahead 45-44. It was the Cougars' first lead since the first period.
The hosts still had some fight left. They scored six of the next eight points and forged ahead 50-47.
Miller made two free throws with 33 seconds showing on the game clock, making the scoreboard read 50-49 in Reed's favor and set the stage for the odd ending.
Tyler Emrick finished with 12 points to lead Spanish Springs scorers, while Lide and Marchbanks both chipped in 10.
"We told the kids at halftime, if we were going to win we had to hit some shots," Penney said. "We have played timid the last few games ... I said 'we've been making mistakes because we're playing timid. If you're going to make a mistake at least go hard.'
"Taelor made a couple shots early in the second half and he missed a few. Still, I could see at that point it didn't matter. He wasn't playing scared anymore."
Lennox Pierce and D'Marshae Vann put up 17 and 12 points respectively to lead Reed.
Spanish Springs will travel to Fallon Wednesday for a first-round regional playoff against Sierra League runner-up Fallon. Reed goes to SL champion Bishop Manogue Wednesday for its first-round affair. Both games tip off at 7 p.m.