Spanish Springs trailed 45-43 with just under two minutes to go in OT after McQueen had opened the extra session by connecting on 2 of 4 foul shots. However, the slim Lancers’ lead did not stand up as the host Cougars put up the final seven points of the game to secure the key league victory.
“I feel ecstatic,” Spanish Springs coach Kyle Penney said. “It’s a good win for us. McQueen is an excellent team. It’s just a big win for us at home.”
Thomas Perkins drained two free throws for Spanish Springs to knot the game at 45-45 with 1:26 showing on the overtime clock. Then, with 37.6 seconds to go, he buried two more from the charity stripe, forging the Cougars ahead 47-45.
On the following trip down the floor, Perkins drew a charge on McQueen’s Rollins Stallworth, forcing a Lancers turnover. Brian Wilson closed the game for the Cougars by making good on 3 of 4 free throws in the final 10 seconds.
The dramatic affair nearly ended in controversial fashion in regulation. Spanish Springs (9-10, 3-3 HDL) led 42-41 when sophomore Brandon DeLong made two free throws with 36.1 ticks remaining in the fourth quarter.
On McQueen’s ensuing possession, the Lancers lost the ball. The basketball rolled loose on the floor and a trio of players dove for it. None of them could pick it up as it rolled out of bounds. Officials gave Spanish Springs possession, ruling it was last touched by McQueen.
Officials then whistled Spanish Springs for a delay of game, its second of the game, resulting in a technical foul. The three officials huddled up and deemed that after the ball went out of bounds, and possession was given to the Cougars, an SSHS player threw it wildly toward the east end of the gym.
Spanish Springs coaches debated the call saying a McQueen player actually threw the ball away, but the technical stood. Stallworth made both of the technical free throws and the call gave McQueen possession. The Lancers turned the ball over on an arguable travel call, giving the Cougars a last-gasp effort to win.
Perkins then got a questionable foul against a McQueen player on a drive into lane with 4.6 seconds showing on the fourth-quarter clock. He missed his first free throw but made the second to force the overtime period deadlocked at 43-43.
“I don’t know how to say it without getting in trouble, but I wish the kids could’ve decided this one,” McQueen coach John Franklin said of the late controversial calls. “I think it was a tough game to coach with what went on down the stretch.”
Perkins threw in 18 points to lead Spanish Springs, while Wilson chipped in 12.
It would have been a tough loss for the Cougars to take as they had led throughout much of the first four quarters. Despite playing from ahead, Spanish Springs never could pull away.
“It all worked out so it’s forgotten about,” Penney said. “We survived that scare. If that game goes the other way, in the big picture, that could really affect our chances of being a playoff team. We’re not the in playoffs by any means but it hasn’t played out yet.
“We start overtime and they score first two points and then didn’t score again. I have to credit our girls coach. I was getting emotional there (worried about the tough calls) and she just told me to keep coaching. She got my head screwed back on straight.”
The biggest Spanish Springs lead of the night was seven, after two free throws from senior forward Darren Miller at the 5:26 mark of the third period. The scoreboard read 27-20 at that point.
McQueen could not make much headway until the final three minutes. The Cougars lead was still five, 37-32, when Ryan Romine made 1 of 2 free throws with 3:34 to go in the fourth period.
The Lancers responded with a 9-3 spurt capped after Stallworth got a driving runner in the lane to fall through the twine. That gave McQueen a 41-40 lead with 36.6 ticks left in regulation, setting the stage for the bizarre technical foul sequence.
Spanish Springs hit four 3-pointers in the first quarter to grab a 17-14 advantage after the first eight minutes. The scoring pace slowed considerably from there. The two teams combined for nine second-period points. The SSHS cagers led 23-17 at the intermission.
“We both played some solid defense,” Franklin said. “The game took on a different tone after the first period. That was a really sloppy basketball game. Both teams turned it over a ton. There were a lot of opportunities to score missed because of the turnovers. And then at the end, it was a tough game to get in a flow.”
Stallworth and Greg Cooper scored 19 and 10 points respectively to account for more than half of the Lancers’ offense. McQueen fell to 11-6 overall and 4-2 in league with Friday’s defeat.
“I’m so pleased with our defense. We held them to 45 points with an overtime,” Penney said. “Our defense has been solid all along. We did a good job of guarding all night. Our defense and rebounding were very good.”
Spanish Springs is back in action Tuesday when it goes to Reno High for a 7 p.m. HDL game.