The Railroaders just did not have an answer for the Spartans' Stacey Kerr, who almost single-handedly outscored the hosts in Spring Creek's 70-24 3A North triumph. Kerr had 23 points to lead all scorers and was the only player in double figures on either team.
Spring Creek appeared to have scored enough points to beat Sparks just minutes into the game. The lead quickly grew from a half dozen, to a dozen, then to two and three dozen.
The Spartans scored the first 40 points of the game and looked ready to head into the locker room with a 40-0 halftime edge.
But Sparks guard Kristina Avilla took one dribble, stopped and popped a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 5 seconds left in the first half.
"You don't really say much," Sparks girls basketball coach Tony Shaw said of the halftime. "We just talked about how we needed to execute and focus on the things that we had control of. We knew the game was out of reach, but the girls kept working and played a lot better and did some things. It's amazing when you do the things you're taught to do, they work."
Still, a 40-3 deficit at halftime could have led to a complete collapse in the second 16 minutes. But the Maroon and Gold remained resilient and played a pretty impressive third quarter.
Sparks scored 17 of its 24 points in the third period thanks to showing more patience on offense. To put the quarter in perspective, the Railroaders only scored 12 points against Lowry the night before.
The Railroaders moved the ball nicely inside and out until someone had an open shot. And unlike the first half, Sparks was knocking down those shots.
"We can't run with teams. We want to, but we can't. A slower pace is better for us. It makes us be a little more patient," Shaw said. "Patience was the key, looking at different spots. We actually hit some shots, and we just have not shot the ball well at all. We hit a few shots, and that helps with the confidence a little bit. We just need to keep working."
Trailing 45-7, Sparks started showing that new-found patience when Chelsey Harris got a pass in the paint, kicked it back out to Gaby Diaz, who swung it over to Alex Perez for a 3-pointer.
Perez kept the rally going when she found an opening in the corner for treys on consecutive possessions for a 9-0 Sparks run. She paced the Railroaders' offense with nine points on those three makes.
The trio of 3-pointers also cut the Spartans' lead down to 45-16 at the 1:59 mark of the third quarter as Sparks won the quarter 17-13. But the home team could not keep that momentum going in the fourth.
The SHS cagers only managed four points in the final quarter, while Spring Creek pulled away thanks to six straight points by Mary Suing, which was part of a 13-0 run that made it a game-high 70-22 gap.
Spring Creek got balanced scoring from its team since many reserves saw healthy playing time.
Noelle Naffoon and Sam Rynearson both scored seven points, while Kyla Siri, Shelly Gill and Tiffany Eleson all chipped in with six points apiece.
Steph Martinez finished with six points in the losing cause.
Sparks (0-8, 0-4 3A North) will be back in action Friday night at Truckee.