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Cougars take down rival Raiders, clinch HDL's No. 2 seed
by Dan Eckles
Feb 09, 2013 | 2831 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Spanish Springs senior post Austin Damoth bounces off the floor for a putback and two of his 18 points while Reed's Devin Herbert (#3) and Devin Gray (#10) defend the action.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Spanish Springs senior post Austin Damoth bounces off the floor for a putback and two of his 18 points while Reed's Devin Herbert (#3) and Devin Gray (#10) defend the action.
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Tribune photo by John Byrne - Reed defender Devin Herbert (#3) slides into position as Cougars reserve guard Hunter Pinto elevates in the lane for a runner.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Reed defender Devin Herbert (#3) slides into position as Cougars reserve guard Hunter Pinto elevates in the lane for a runner.
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There was plenty on the line in Friday night's Rail City rivalry matchup between the Reed and Spanish Springs boys basketball teams. The two teams played like it but in the end it was Spanish Springs overcoming a three-game losing skid and executing in crunch-time to pull out a 57-48 High Desert League home win in the regular season finale for both teams.

Spanish Springs pulled away in the final four minutes of the game. Reed got a 3-pointer from Ajay Bains with 4:10 showing on the game clock. The Raiders got to within four, 44-40, after the trey, but they were never that close again as the Cougars began to gradually pull away.

Austin Damoth drained two foul shots and TJ McCauley got a putback as the Cougars forged ahead 48-40 with 3:18 left. Trae Wells got a runner to fall seconds later to make it 48-42 but Reed could get no closer than six down the stretch.

The last six-point margin came at 54-48, after Wells banked in a 3-pointer with 9 seconds remaining. Reed coach Dustin Hall was whistled for a technical foul with 2.4 ticks showing on the clock. McCauley made 1 of 2 free throws that followed and then Damoth broke free on the ensuing in-bound pass and threw down a dunk as time expired, accounting for the final nine-point margin.

"We did a great job in the second half defensively," Cougars coach Kyle Penney said. "They got some penetration, but we were still guarding so we made them take tough shots. We did a great job defending, rebounding, rotating and then taking care of the weak side."

Damoth and McCauley spearheaded the Spanish Springs offensive attack, pouring in 19 and 18 points respectively. McCauley also pulled down 20 rebounds to help the winning cause.

The first quarter was a back-and-forth affair with Reed getting out to a 17-14 lead after the first eight minutes. After the two teams combined for the 31 points in the first period, the scoring pace slowed in the second. Reed outscored the SSHS crew 8-6 in the quarter and led 25-20 at the half.

"I thought we started the game great," Hall said. "Our offense got into a flow. We hit some shots. The second half was a different story. We couldn't get any second-chance points. And on the flip side of that, they were getting second chances. They took care of the ball on both ends."

Spanish Springs got it going after halftime. The arch rivals traded 3-pointers to open the third period. That left Reed on top 28-23, but the wheels quickly fell off the Raiders' wagon from there. The Cougars ripped off 12 unanswered points to kick start an 18-4 run that closed out the third period. At the quarter's conclusion, the hosts had jumped ahead 41-32. They never trailed again.

"I felt like we handled their pressure from the beginning and got into our offense without letting them get us into an up-tempo game," SSHS guard Kenny Meyer said. "We rebounded and took care of the ball."

Wells finished with 17 points to lead Read on offense. Devin Gray chipped in 10 in defeat.

The win gives Spanish Springs (15-10, 9-7) the HDL's No. 2 postseason seed and a first-round regional home playoff game Tuesday night against Sierra League No. 3 seed Carson.

"This win absolutely does mean a lot," Penney said. "But I told the kids, we've still got bigger moments ahead of us. We've been through some deep valleys and some high peaks this season. This was just one game, but from here on out, it's all about one game for everybody."

Reed (13-10, 9-7) ends up as the HDL's No. 3 seed and will travel Tuesday for a regional quarterfinal playoff at Galena. Tip-off for both postseason contests is set for 7 p.m.

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