In spite of facing a deficit for all of the first 29 minutes, the Cougars continued to chip away at a McQueen lead. Spanish Springs snagged its first lead of the game with three minutes left in the contest, but there was still work to be done.
McQueen had just canned a pair of foul shots to deadlock the conference clash at 57 apiece in the final minute. Then the Lancers blocked a Cougars shot out of bounds with 10 seconds to go and the game tied. That set the stage for the SSHS gang's late-game heroics.
Spanish Springs in-bounded the ball to senior Hannah Woytek as she came open off a curl cut. Woytek drove baseline but was forced to kick the ball out after McQueen defenders collapsed to close off her lane. Woytek, the Cougars' standout point guard, found teammate Katrina Prendergast open for a mid-range jumper on the baseline. Prendergast knocked it down with 5 seconds showing on the game clock to give the visiting Cougars the league road win.
"When they in bounded the ball, at that point, I was out of timeouts," McQueen coach Joe Bischopink said. "We had just hit the two free throws to tie it. We blocked a shot off their initial penetration and knocked it out. I would've liked to have stopped it, called timeout and talked about what we needed to see. I just didn't have that opportunity. We were close to getting a hand on the ball, but it was not enough. She (Prendergast) came up with it and made the shot."
McQueen (8-14, 4-11), which is playing for its postseason livelihood, could've helped its cause in a big way by winning Tuesday but it was not meant to be. Still, the Lancers played with a purpose. They jumped out to a 21-10 lead after one quarter and forced Spanish Springs to play catch-up most of the way.
"McQueen came out on fire," first-year SSHS coach Art Cardenas said. "They are fighting for that last playoff spot. They were aggressive defensively and red-hot offensively."
The Lancers held a 32-25 advantage at the intermission and still were on top after three periods of play, 47-42. Spanish Springs outscored McQueen 17-10 in the final eight minutes to secure the win.
Woytek was the star of the show. She paced a Spanish Springs offense that saw four players hit for double figures in the scoring column, posting a game-high 19 points. Woytek also dished out 11 assists to tie a school record she now shares with three others -- Brianne Edmunds (Dec. 2001), Caitlin McKinney (Jan. 2009) and Riley Holladay (Dec. 2011, Dec. 2012).
"It was really just Woytek that hurt us," Bischopink said. "I don't know what she was (shooting) from the field, but it seemed like she only missed about one shot. It was tough for us to maintain how well we were playing early. If we stopped her, she found someone open and if we didn't, she just hit a shot."
Prendergast scored 12 points for the Cougars who also got 11 points each from Mariah Vargas and Adriana Pennington.
Spanish Springs, which has already clinched the HDL's No. 3 playoff seed, improved to 17-7 overall and 8-7 in league play. The Cougars conclude their regular season Friday at Reed at 5:15 p.m. and then will open the DI North tournament in a regional quarterfinal at Douglas Feb. 18 at 7 p.m.