With the scoreboard reading 26-24 in favor of SSHS out of the break, the Cougars put the clamps down on the Senators the remainder of the contest. In the final 16 minutes of game, Carson managed just 11 points on four field goals and a pair of free throws as the hosts were unable to find the basket in the final five minutes of the game.
“We just spent a lot of time talking about our defense and making adjustments at halftime on things we thought we could do better,” Spanish Springs coach Christine Eckles said. “You have to sit down and play defense. When your defense gets to work, your offense is going to be better.
“I thought we did a really good job of keeping them to one shot and that turned into transition offense for us. Honestly for us, we need those transition buckets because sometimes we struggle in a half-court set. So the more we can get out on missed shots or turnovers, the more likely we can get into the 50s and 60s and there we feel good about our chances to do well. We build our foundation on defending and rebounding and we did a good job of that after we made some slight adjustments.”
Spanish Springs’ (18-6, 9-4 HDL) slight adjustments propelled the Cougars to a more steady lead in the third quarter.
After its lead stayed at two points out of the break with the score at 30-28 and 4:06 on the clock, SSHS closed the final two minutes of the third quarter on a 7-2 spurt. Guard Riley Holladay got things started with a steal before she raced the length of the court for an easy two. Forward Lyndsey Anderson then capped the quick run with a pull up jumper in the lane to put the Cougars on top 37-30.
An opening bucket in the fourth for the Senators trimmed the SSHS advantage to five, but that would be the closest the home team would get the remainder of the game. Carson’s final field goal would come with six minutes to play and its final points came on a free throw at the 5:02 mark to leave the score at 43-35.
Spanish Springs went on to close the game out with nine unanswered points.
Holladay led the Cougars’ winning effort with a game-high 16 points and eight rebounds on the evening. Anderson also chipped in with 14 points. Hannah Woytek chipped in 13 for the Cougs.
Spanish Springs will now get set to take on Hug on the road Friday. Tip-off is set for 5:15 p.m.
Neither offense was able to get much going in the first half of the Spanish Springs’ boys crossover-league contest against Carson, but a big third quarter propelled the Senators to a 56-36 victory Tuesday night.
With the host Senators holding a slim 17-12 edge at halftime, those in attendance were looking for a few more offensive fireworks after the intermission. Unfortunately for the SSHS faithful, none were provided by the Purple and Silver. On the other side, Carson’s Rafe King opened things up for the Senators.
King hit a trio of three-point baskets to open the second half, keying an 11-3 run for Carson that left the Senators ahead 28-15 at the 5:04 mark. After a triple from Spanish Springs’ Conner Naisbit made it a 10-point deficit, CHS went back to work and it closed out the third quarter with a 15-2 burst, including six points from King. That run left the Senators on top 43-20 with eight minutes to play.
The Cougars never threatened again, failing to bring the deficit below 18 points the rest of the way.
“They wanted it more,” Spanish Springs coach Kyle Penney said. “They came out and they competed. We didn’t communicate on defense and we gave their best player some wide-open threes to steal momentum. They ran with it from there. We couldn’t put the ball in the basket. We couldn’t execute. They just had us stunned.
“I think you have to credit Carson on that, but we were also very complacent offensively. We were looking for someone to do something. We weren’t a team. We didn’t have five guys working together. We didn’t have good movement or passing and we were missing screens. It was a whole combination of things. We just weren’t executing sets. We don’t play well on road trips and tonight was a perfect example of that.”
Carson started the game off by grabbing a 12-2 lead following 10 unanswered points sparked by a pair of triples by King. At the end of the first, the Senators held a 13-6 advantage. In the second, CHS scored just four points while the Cougars added six points to leave the scoreboard reading 17-12 at the intermission.
The lone Spanish Springs (14-8, 8-5 HDL) player to finish with double-digits in scoring was T.J. McCauley who posted 13 points. Guard Kenny Meyer added eight points on the night.
King led all scorers with a game-high 27 points, including five three-pointers and an 8-for-8 performance at the free throw line.
The Cougars will now get ready to take on Hug Friday at 7:00 p.m.
“We have to become a team. We have to understand that everyone has to be able to contribute,” Penney said of necessary adjustments for the Cougars. “Contribute doesn’t mean that you have to put points on the board. Contribute means you have to help find other ways to score. Guys have to be on the same page.
“We got exposed in this game and it wasn’t fun, and it’s never fun when you get blown out. Kids have to be willing to die for each other on the court and work with each other. We’re not working for or with each other. We’re just waiting to see if someone is going to do something and then if something good gets going, then we all jump on. We have to be on board in the bad times too.”