The two teams met in Chico, Calif. in a losers' bracket battle of a tournament hosted by Pleasant Valley High School.
Spanish Springs had been bounced into the losers' bracket after a 71-64 tournament-opening loss to Clovis North of suburban Fresno on Thursday. However, the Sparks school had no problem rebounding Friday against Downey, which fell in its tournament debut to host Pleasant Valley, 68-25. Spanish Springs ran out to a 20-11 lead after one period and extended its edge to 30-16 by the intermission.
"This was a huge improvement from yesterday," Spanish Springs coach Kyle Penney said. "We spent some time watching film and talking about things. You could tell an obvious difference in the kids' preparation. We have to get kids in the right spots and ready to play. Today, we overwhelmed them with pressure. Our pressure was really good. We forced a lot of turnovers. They may have had 15 in a row at one point in the first half."
The Cougars kept pouring it on from there. Spanish Springs outscored Downey 22-4 in the third period and led 52-20 going to the final quarter. Reserves dominated playing time in the fourth quarter and the Cougars outscored their California foe in the final eight minutes as well, 12-1.
Spanish Springs nailed 25-of-45 shots (56 percent) from the field, taking advantage of a myriad of fast-break layups, the result of countless Downey turnovers.
Kenny Meyer paced the SSHS scoring contingent, posting 22 points to lead all scorers. He was the only Cougars player to finish in double digits scoring, but nine of 11 Spanish Springs players did find the scoring column.
"We played a lot of kids," Penney said. "We subbed in five at time a few times. We did some different things. A lot of kids got to play so that's always a good thing, but we still see some areas we have to get better at and improve on. We're not playing real confident basketball. We're still a little hesitant; so the more minutes we can get guys, the more confident they become."
The Cougars (4-3) wrap up the three-day tournament in the consolation final at 1:30 p.m. Saturday against Oroville, Calif.