The Cougars ran through their 18-team round-robin tournament with a perfect 4-0 record. Spanish Springs knocked off Faith Lutheran of Las Vegas 60-52 in the morning and then drilled Buhach Colony of Atwater, Calif., 60-28, in the late afternoon.
“This weekend was good for us,” Spanish Springs coach Christine Eckles. “With four games in three days, we got in a lot of basketball. A lot of kids played a lot of minutes and that should benefit us as we continue to work to get better. I’m pleased with our growth and the kids’ effort. But we all know the competition only gets tougher as we move forward, so we’ve got to continue to get better.”
Against Faith Lutheran, a private school in northwest Las Vegas, Spanish Springs ran out to a 22-8 lead after the first quarter. Unfortunately for the hosts, they could not pull away. Faith Lutheran outscored the SSHS crew 14-7 in the second period, trimming the local school’s lead to seven at the half, 29-22.
Faith Lutheran got as close as four points on multiple occasions in the second half but Spanish Springs was able to stop the bleeding. The Cougars pushed their lead back to double digits in the fourth quarter and held on for the eight-point victory.
Spanish Springs was able to hold off Faith Lutheran in large part to converting at the charity stripe. The Cougars had just three field goals in the fourth quarter but did make 14 of 23 foul shots to key the win.
Senior forward Lyndsey Anderson torched the Crusaders for a game-high 23 points, including a 9-of-11 effort at the free-throw line. Junior point guard Hannah Woytek added 12 points and dropped in 8-of-10 at the foul line.
Myrissa Prince chipped in 11 points to the Cougars’ winning cause.
“We faced some adversity and were shorthanded, so it was nice that we found a way to win,” Eckles said. “We got off to a great start in the first quarter, but then we’ve been turning around and continually having poor second periods. We’ve got to change that trend.
“Hannah and Lyndsey were huge, especially in the fourth quarter when we needed them to knock down shots and free throws.”
Spanish Springs’ second game of the day was never close. The Cougars led 23-7 after one quarter and had stretched their advantage to 38-15 by the half. It went from bad to worse for the visiting Thunder. Spanish Springs extended its edge to 52-19 after three quarters.
Cougars senior Riley Holladay, who missed Spanish Springs early contest Saturday after taking the ACT test, had a big game. She scored 13 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and gave away 10 assists. It was the first triple double in the 13-year history of the SSHS girls basketball program.
“Riley played great,” Eckles said. “She went hard to the boards. She was aggressive when she needed to be and she was unselfish when she had an open teammate. That’s a special accomplishment. She’s a special player and I’m happy for her.”
Holladay got plenty of help on offense. Anderson and Woytek finished with 15 and 11 points respectively for Spanish Springs.
The Cougars will take a big step up in competition when they hit the hardwood again Tuesday, on the road in a High Desert League affair against traditional state power Reno. Tipoff is 5:15 p.m.