SPRING CREEK – The Lowry girls basketball team controlled Friday’s game in Spring Creek from the opening tip, cruising to a 60-38 victory over the Lady Spartans on senior night and gaining the upper hand for a No. 2 seed and first-round bye in the Division 3A North tournament.
The first points of the game were tallied by Lowry senior Kyllie Sappington, who finished an And-1 and buried the free throw.
Sophomore Sierra Masterjuan gave the Lady Buckaroos a 5-0 lead on a feed from junior Sydney Connors.
Lowry wreaked major havoc with its full-court pressure, forcing several Spring Creek turnovers – but the Lady Bucks missed numerous chances for points on blown layups.
Spring Creek nearly went three minutes without a bucket, finally earning a jumper from senior Teagan Ashby on a pass from junior Alayna Grosz.
The Lady Buckaroos went on an 11-0 run.
Senior Alyssa Kuskie buried two free throws; Connors dropped a three following an offensive board by Sappington – who hit a runner on an inbound pass from Connors.
Junior Heather Hall drained a pull-up jumper from the elbow, and Spring Creek turned the ball over on the inbound pass.
Connors sank a floater in the lane, capping the 11-0 stretch.
Spring Creek went more than four minutes between field goals, scoring the final points of the period on an And-1 finish by Grosz on a perfect-pocket pass from junior Delaynee Walz.
After the first, the Lady Spartans trailed 16-4.
The Lady Spartans scored the first bucket of the second quarter, coming on a put-back by freshman Kylee Dimick.
Lowry junior Brooke Hansen stuck an elbow jumper, opening an 18-6 advantage.
Junior Julisa Garcia followed with a long-two from the left wing, Connors tacking on a free throw.
Dimick drew a foul and dropped the bucket against contact for Spring Creek, but Lowry made a 6-0 streak.
Senior Kepa Bengochea made a freebie, followed by a 1-for-2 trip to the stripe by junior Hailey Fernandez.
Lowry grabbed the rebound on the miss, Connors working the middle and receiving a friendly bounce.
Fernandez made a perfect stint at the line, giving the Lady Bucks a 27-8 lead.
Grosz stopped Spring Creek’s drought with a point-blank finish in the middle of the key – putting the Lady Spartans in double digits with 3:20 remaining in the half – but Fernandez answered with a short-corner jumper from the weak side.
Spring Creek junior Jasmine Yadeskie was fouled and buried both free throws, but Sappington used good ball movement from her teammates – sinking a weak-side J from the left wing on an assist from Fernandez.
Junior Shaylynn Yaunick drilled a long-two from the left wing and added a free throw, but Connors closed the half with a clean 2-for-2 trip to the line.
At the break, Lowry led by 18 at 33-15.
To start the half, Spring Creek turned the ball over in the middle of the lane – equaling points for the Lady Bucks.
Kuskie drained a three from the right wing, Connors following with a free throw for a 22-point cushion.
Masterjuan jumped a passing lane and went the other way for a 24-point advantage of 39-15.
Kuskie killed a little clock and waited for a screen, rolling to hoop around the pick and drawing a foul.
She pushed the lead to 41-15 with a pair of free throws, capping an 8-0 run.
Spring Creek’s first points of the half came on an And-1 by senior Kaitlyn McLeod.
Dimick grabbed the offensive rebound from the free throw and was fouled, sinking both freebies.
The Lady Spartans could have cut into the lead further, owning the offensive glass for numerous possessions in a row but failing to make any shots.
Kuskie drained a pair of free throws for the Lady Bucks, followed by two more from Connors for a 26-point lead.
Sophomore Cheyenne Cleveland swished a jumper from the right side for the Lady Spartans, but Hansen scored four in a row for Lowry – the second coming on a dish from Hall.
Spring Creek opened a 7-0 run, starting with a three by sophomore Elizabeth Canning from the right corner and closing with a finish by Grosz – who drew a charge on the other end.
Walz came free and scored on a cut down the left side of the lane.
Fernandez used body control and stopped just before being called for a charge, scoring on the right block.
Cleveland chucked up a prayer just before the buzzer, finding the extreme top-right corner of the glass for a bank shot.
After three quarters, Spring Creek trailed by 21 at 51-30.
Walz trimmed the lead to 20 with a free throw to start the fourth, and Canning went off-glass with another deep two for the Lady Spartans.
Spring Creek’s defense began to force turnovers and had Lowry’s offense out of sync, the Lady Bucks taking a timeout with 6:20 remaining.
Lowry’s first points of the period came with 5:35 on the clock from a pair of free throws by Connors.
Connors pushed the ball the length of the floor and threw a pass under the defense to Kuskie for a corner three, but Cleveland responded with a swish on a jumper from the left wing.
Yaunick made a free throw to cut the lead back to 20.
Connors drilled two more shots from the line, Cleveland scored for the Lady Spartans and junior Rachel Garrison hit an elbow J for the Lady Bucks.
The Lady Buckaroos gained the upper hand for the No. 2 seed of the regional tournament with a 60-38 victory, Spring Creek now cheering for Elko to beat Lowry at 1 p.m. Saturday at Centennial Gymnasium.
Connors led all scorers with 17 points, scoring 10 from the line.
Kuskie finished in double digits with 12 points, sinking two 3s.
Cleveland led the Lady Spartans with eight points, scoring all her points in the second half.
Fernandez and Sappington scored seven points apiece for the Lady Bucks, followed by six from Hansen.
Grosz and Dimick each closed with six points for Spring Creek, Canning adding five.
LOWRY – 16 – 17 – 18 – 9 – 60 Total
SPRING CREEK – 4 – 11 – 15 – 8 – 38 Total
The Lady Spartans will now play the waiting the game, closing the regular season with an 11-5 league record.
Lowry improved to 11-4 in the 3A North, closing the season at 1 p.m. Saturday in Elko – a win giving the Lady Bucks a first-round bye in the postseason, a loss creating a three-way tie for second place.