Douglas and Spanish Springs met in both schools’ season debuts Tuesday night, which was also a regional crossover league game, and the result was similar to many in the past, a close clash. In the end, Spanish Springs made more plays and pulled out a 46-36 home win.
“We missed a lot of shots and we were far from sharp, but it’s a league win on opening night so we’ll take it and try to focus on the positives,” veteran Spanish Springs coach Christine Eckles said. “We didn’t win because we executed with great precision, but I did think we played really hard in the second half. That’s when our defense helped us create enough easy offensive opportunities to pull out the win.”
The two teams were deadlocked at 19-19 at halftime, but Spanish Springs took control after the intermission. The regional rivals traded buckets to start the third quarter and make the scoreboard read 21-21, but Spanish Springs scored the next seven points, grabbing a 28-21 lead midway through the third period. The game was never tied nor did the Cougars ever trail again.
Douglas did score the next six points to get within one, 27-26, still with two minutes remaining in the third. The Cougars answered when Riley Holladay connected on a 3-pointer and 1-of-2 free throws, pushing their lead back to five, 32-27.
Douglas stayed within striking distance. Kassidy Freitas made 1-of-2 free throws at the 7:36 mark of the fourth quarter and the Tigers were down just four, 34-30.
Spanish Springs extended its edge to double digits for the first time, 40-30, after Lyndsey Anderson made two foul shots, hit a jumper in the lane and Holladay got a putback off a missed free throw.
Douglas still hung around, closing to within six, 42-36, with 2:29 left in the game. That’s as good as it got for the Minden school. The Tigers did not score again down the stretch while Holladay dropped in a layup and a runner in traffic for the Cougars, accounting for the final 10-point margin.
Holladay and Anderson both scored 14 points to tie for team-high scoring honors, but the duo combined to make only 10-of-30 field goal tries. That 30 percent figure was familiar for the SSHS crew. The Cougars, who did not get a single point of scoring from their bench, shot just 30 percent from the floor as a team, 18-of-60. Cougar reserves were 0-9 from the field.
Spanish Springs made up for its shortcomings b getting quantity rather than quality. Douglas did shoot a far better percentage from the field (54 percent), but it managed to get up only 28 shots, making 15.
Spanish Springs helped its cause by forcing 33 Douglas turnovers and winning the rebounding margin 36-31. The Cougars grabbed 18 offensive boards.
“We made some hustle plays, specifically in the second half, that helped us get this win,” Eckles said. “But we definitely have to get better. We made too many mistakes by not remembering where we needed to be and when. We did not convert enough of their turnovers into our points. We just were not as sharp as we need to be if we want to achieve our goals.
“The good news is it is just opening night of a long season. Douglas is better than it has been the last couple years. We were fortunate to not play our best and still get a win. So now we get back in the gym and get to work on getting better.”
Anderson had a solid all-around night for the Cougars, In addition to her 14 points, she pulled down 14 rebounds and snared seven steals.
Diana Regalado and Kynett McKenna paced the DHS scoring effort with 14 and 10 points respectively in defeat.
After a few more days of workouts this week, Spanish Springs will hit the road for a pair of out-of-state, non-conference road games in suburban Sacramento. The Cougars will play at Center, Calif. Friday at 4 p.m. before playing at Roseville, Calif. Saturday at 1 p.m.