With one starter working her way back from injury and another away on personal business, the Spartans ran out to a 20-1 lead and steamed by the Sparks Railroaders 65-23 Friday night.
Both of the replacement starters found themselves pacing Spring Creek.
Starting just her second game of the season, sophomore Maddy Merschel scored the first six points for the Spartans and finished with a game-high 16 points and five rebounds before halftime.
“It’s really great. It’s totally different (starting). You have to start strong. That really matters and you can’t get a feel for the game (from the bench). Instead of watching you have to play through it,” Merschel said.
Junior guard Serima Thompson, also gave the Spring Creek plenty of scoring punch. She scored 15 points in her first start of the year.
After a solid bench role in last year’s state championship team, Thompson started this season on the bench with an injury.
On Friday, she showed what she can do when she’s healthy.
“She’s just itching for me to get her full time in the starting spot and the way she played today, the way everyone played today, it’s hard not to look at that starting lineup,” Spring Creek coach Holly Miller said.
While, Merschel and Thompson provided the offense, it was Spring Creek’s typical defense which paced the Spartans to the fast start.
They forced Sparks into nine turnovers in the first quarter. The Railroaders had three more turnovers than shot attempts in the first 8 minutes.
For the game, Sparks surrendered 26 turnovers and Spring Creek converted those turnovers into 20 points.
“We’re a work in progress, but we continue to work hard. We want to consistently put a competitive team on the floor,” Sparks coach Frank Avilla said. “(Spring Creek) is a good team, no doubt about it.”
Sparks didn’t score its first field goal until Gabby Morgan sank a 3-pointer in the first 15 seconds of the second quarter.
By the start of the fourth quarter, Spring Creek enacted the 40-point mercy rule.
In one of the bright spots for Sparks, Avilla pointed out his team’s rebounding.
The Lady Railroaders only had six shot attempts in the first quarter, but had three offensive rebounds off those shots.
“We’re 0-6, but on four occasions we outshot and outrebounded our opponents and just have not finished,” Avila said.
Krystal Parker led Sparks with 10 points and Katelyn Vandever had nine points.
Spring Creek’s Shawntel Anderson didn’t start Friday, but finished with seven points after coming into the game in the middle of the second quarter.
The Railroaders came into the game with an 0-2 record against Northern Division I-A teams.
The Spartans are now 3-0 in league games with all the games won by at least 30 points. They are 7-2 overall.
Sparks finishes off its eastern Nevada road trip with a game against Elko at 2 p.m..