The two teams were deadlocked at 43-43 with under a minute left when Spanish Springs got the game-winning bucket. Reserve post Dupree Kness got open on a set play and dropped in a layup, his only points of the night, with 41 seconds left, forging the Cougars ahead 45-43.
Reno's Kyle Mahaffey was fouled on the following possession but he only connected on 1of 2 foul shots, leaving Spanish Springs on top by one, 45-44.
Next, Reno fouled Cougars sharpshooting guard Kenny Meyer. Unfortunately for the hosts, Meyer had a rare miss of a free-throw attempt and Reno regained possession with a chance to tie or take the lead.
The Huskies missed their first try, but got an offensive rebound and used their final timeout. However, on a drive into the lane in the waning seconds, the ball squirted loose and Cougars post TJ McCauley scooped it up as time expired.
So how did the Cougars win?
"Luck, the basketball gods were on our side tonight," Spanish Springs coach Kyle Penney quipped. "Reno got offensive rebound after offensive rebound. They put themselves in a good position on the road. Luckily for us, we were able to get that one stop at the end."
Neither team could get much going offensively early. Reno scored the first five points of the game and then Spanish Springs scored the next seven. That was the score at the end of the first quarter, 7-5.
Spanish Springs led 9-7 but then scored the next eight points to grab a 17-7 advantage.
"In film Thursday we asked our kids to name one game where we've started well this year." Reno coach Matt Ochs said. "They couldn't really do it. Tonight, we score the first five points, and then we stopped executing. That's pretty obvious when you give up a 17-2 run."
Still, Reno was relatively unfazed. The visitors scored eight straight points of their own and only trailed 19-15 at halftime.
"We have problems with focus and intensity," Penney said. "We came in today and thought we were going to win instead of playing like we wanted to win."
The second half was nip and tuck. Neither team led by more than three points. Reno led 31-28 late in the third quarter and Spanish Springs led 39-36 three minutes into the fourth.
The game was tied at 39-39, 41-41 and again at 43-43 before Spanish Springs pulled out the victory.
McCauley led all scorers with 24 points, while Austin Damoth finished with 11 for the Cougs.
Reno (9-11, 5-7) helped its cause in a big way by holding Meyer, who averages 15 points an outing, scoreless. Jakob Rolling had 12 points and Garrett Hampson 10 to lead Reno in the scoring column.
The Cougars (14-7, 8-4) are on the road when they play again, Tuesday at Carson at 7 p.m.
The Reno Huskies used a 14-2 third-quarter run to key a 57-38 road win at Spanish Springs Friday night.
Reno led the battle of league rivals 23-18 at the half. Huskies guard Gigi Hascheff buried a 3-pointer to open the scoring on the second half but Cougars guard Riley Holladay answered with a trey of her own at the opposite end of the floor. That left Reno still clinging to a five-point edge, 26-21, a minute and a half into the third period.
Then Reno, the defending state runner-up and current co-High Desert League leader, put together its pivotal spurt. When the run was done, Reno had blown a close contest wide open, extending its edge to 40-23.
Spanish Springs stopped the bleeding briefly. The hosts answered with a modest 10-4 run. A Lyndsey Anderson 15-foot jumper capped the spurt and trimmed the RHS lead to 11, 44-33. Unfortunately for Spanish Springs, Reno had another spurt, stringing together 13 of the next 17 points to nix any slim hopes the Cougars had of a comeback.
"It's a frustrating loss," veteran Cougars coach Christine Eckles said. "We want to beat the Renos of the world and so far a win like that has eluded us. But obviously Reno is very good. They have size. They have good guard play. They shoot it well. There's not a lot of weaknesses to try and exploit.
"We know we're pretty good, too. So there's two weeks left in the regular season. We want to keep working hard and squeeze every bit of energy, talent and effort out of ourselves that we can so we can surprise people here at the end."
Reno (19-2, 11-1) put four players in double figures in the scoring column. Freshman post Mallory McGwire led the way, finishing with 15 points. Her junior sister Morgan, chipped in 14, while Hascheff and Savannah Schulze added 12 and 11 points respectively.
Holladay was the lone Cougars player in double digits. She posted 17 in defeat.
Reno got off to a stellar start, taking a 22-8 lead two minutes into the second quarter. However, the Cougars showed some fight. A 10-1 SSHS outburst wrapped up the first half, accounting for the 23-18 score at the break.
Shooting and rebounding were the biggest differences in the game. Reno, which boasts the McGwire sisters, who stand 6-foot-4 and 6-2, dominated the glass, winning the war on the boards 37-22. Reno also knocked down 21-of-54 shots (39 percent), while the SSHS crew was 16-49 (33 percent).
Spanish Springs (17-6, 8-4) will be back in action Tuesday at Carson at 5:15 p.m.