The two teams gave fans a down-to-the-wire show and Aaron Greenblat’s free throw with two seconds left, gave the Raiders the 44-43 High Desert League victory over their cross-town rivals Saturday evening.
“We say at the end of the year that only one team gets to win their last game. We had aspirations of competing for championships, but it didn’t work out that way,” Reed boys basketball coach Dustin Hall said. “Both teams played very hard. It was sloppy as you could tell, but it was a great ending to a sour season. I’m proud of the kids, especially the seniors.”
Reed controlled the first three quarters, but then Spanish Springs chipped away at the double-digit gap to start the fourth.
A string of six unanswered points, got the Cougars within four, 38-34, with just over five minutes to go. It was still a four-point contest late in the game, but a Kyle Raymond 3-pointer with 2:13 left cut it to 42-41.
“We made some shots finally. T.J. (Giglio) came in and provided a spark. We got some layups and finally made some shots,” SSHS boys basketball coach Kyle Penney said of his team’s comeback. “We missed 20 shots at the basket. We lose by one and missed 20 shots at the basket. It’s the same story as all the games.”
After Greenblat sank a free throw to push the lead to 43-41 with just over a minute to play, Spanish Springs’ Darren Miller knotted the game at 43-43 with 50 seconds left.
Reed senior Taylor Yancey tried to drive to the hoop and get a tough shot off among the trees, but had his shot blocked with 28 seconds left. However, the Cougars couldn’t get the go-ahead score after losing the ball out of bounds, allowing the Raiders to take the final shot.
Coming out of a Reed timeout, Mike Powell launched a 3-pointer but was off the mark. Roberto Velazquez caught the long rebound and fired up a shot mid-air but also missed. Finally, Greenblat tried tipping in the putback but was fouled during his attempt.
Greenblat made the first foul shot but missed the second. Spanish Springs rebounded the ball and called timeout with 1.8 seconds on the clock, needing a full-court prayer to go out with a win.
Penney drew up a play where Wilson started with the ball out of bounds. Thomas Perkins sneaked to the other side of the court, still out of bounds, to receive a pass from Wilson. But the rule states, you can only do that after a made basket, so the Cougs turned the ball over without getting a final shot off.
“Every team wants their seniors to go out with a win. We had chances,” Penney said. “But the last play was my responsibility. I screwed that one up. To not even get a chance to put up a shot, that’s going to stick with me for a while.”
The Raiders jumped on the home team early.
Reed had Spanish Springs doubled up as late as the 2:04 mark of the second quarter at 22-11.
“Early it was all defense. We were getting stops, got some baskets. Offensively we were pretty sloppy all night, but most of that was from the pressure Spanish Springs puts on you,” Hall said. “Defensively, we did some stuff early and built a big enough lead to hold on. It was a little scary.”
Powell and Greenblat were the only players in double figures with 13 and 12 points respectively.
Perkins paced the Cougars with nine points, while Giglio added seven, all in the second half.
Reed finished off the season at 4-16 overall and 3-9 in league play with two of those wins coming in its final two games.
Spanish Springs dropped to 10-15 and 4-8 with its third straight loss.