"We did defend," Reed coach Dustin Hall said. "We still struggled to rebound but we did a better job as the game wore on. Then we started to get into transition and got some easier offense. Both teams played their butts off. We were fortunate to come out on top."
Spanish Springs reserve guard Connor Naisbitt dropped a deep 3-point bomb with 17 seconds left in the third period, closing out the quarter's scoring. The long-range jumper gave the visiting Cougars a nine-point lead, heading into the final eight minutes of play, 41-32.
That's as good as it got for the guests. Trae Wells drained a pair of free throws for Reed at the 5:47 mark of the fourth quarter, capping a 13-2 Raiders' spurt to open the period. The foul shots gave Reed a 45-43 edge, its first lead since 5-4, midway through the initial quarter.
Spanish Springs stopped the bleeding briefly. Kenny Meyer buried two foul shots of his own for Spanish Springs. Those came with 4:17 to go in the contest and forged the SSHS hoopsters ahead 50-46.
Reed scored the next eight points over the following two minutes and did not trail again. After Meyer's aforementioned free throws, the Raiders wound up finishing the conference clash on a 14-5 run.
"We played three pretty good quarters and then we got outscored 28-14 in the fourth quarter," Spanish Springs coach Kyle Penney said. "It comes down to just a few possessions and we got casual with the ball, which cost us. You can't have casual plays."
Both teams were in the free-throw shooting bonus for much of the second half, but Reed sustained offensive opportunities by getting to the foul line more. The Raiders shot 28 free throws in the game and 23 in the fourth quarter alone. Reed finished 15-of-28 at the line. Conversely, Spanish Springs was 16-of-18 at the charity stripe.
Reed led 56-53 when a pair of opposing players came down with a loose ball. Officials whistled Spanish Springs for a foul on the sequence but Cougars coach Kyle Penney thought it should have been a jump ball. Penney was then tagged for a technical foul. With 26 seconds remaining on the game clock, Reed connected on two of the four corresponding free throws to make it a two-possession game, 58-53, and essentially iced the victory.
"Some of that tonight is my fault too," Penney said. "I can't get a technical in a three-point game. There's no excuse for that and that hurt us as well."
Early on, Spanish Springs looked to have control. After Reed took its 5-4 lead, Spanish Springs ended the first period on an 11-3 outburst, taking a 15-8 lead into the second quarter.
Reed scored the first six points of the second quarter, trimming the SSHS lead to one, 15-14, but the Cougars bounced back and still led 25-20 at the intermission.
The Cougars, who have now dropped three straight games, scored seven of the first nine points after halftime, pushing their led to 10, 32-22, after two free throws by Hunter Fralick. That was the largest lead either team enjoyed on the night.
"We never really let them pull away," Hall said. "We kept them at least at arm's length. Then we were able to get the tempo on our side. In the first half, we let them punch us in the mouth and they established their tempo."
Wells led Reed, which has won three straight, with 17 points while Alonzo Vega added 15 and Devin Gray chipped in 12 to the winning effort.
Meyer posted to 20 points to lead all scorers while the Cougars also got 11 and 10 points respectively from Austin Damoth and TJ McCauley.
Both teams have a quick turnaround. Reed (9-6, 5-3) plays at Reno today at 1:30 p.m. while Spanish Springs (11-7, 5-4) also plays at 1:30 p.m. at North Valleys.