SPRING CREEK – Despite a 63-56 loss in overtime Tuesday in Elko, the Spring Creek girls basketball team is still in control of its own destiny.
The challenge is simple for the Lady Spartans; win Friday at home versus Lowry and earn the No. 2 seed of the regional tournament and a first-round bye.
A Spring Creek loss could create quite the jumble from No. 2 through No. 4, depending on the outcome of the Lowry at Elko game Saturday at Centennial Gymnasium.
The Lady Spartans are still in second place of the Division 3A North standings with an 11-4 record, holding a one-game lead over the Lady Buckaroos in the win column – Lowry with two games remaining and Spring Creek preparing for its season finale on senior night.
Spring Creek will graduate a small class, but seniors Kaitlyn McLeod and Teagan Ashby have placed their marks on the program.
“Kaitlyn and Teagan have played four years of varsity. Until Kylee (Dimick) this season, they were the only two that I have brought up to varsity as freshmen,” said Spring Creek coach Holly Miller. “They have been the faces of our program for the last four years.”
Miller said the Lady Spartans got up a lot of shots the past two days in practice, following Tuesday’s loss.
“I felt like we were prepared, had a good game plan and played well Tuesday. The only areas of the game that we struggled in were shooting the ball and letting Gabe (Rowley) score 24 points,” Miller said. “I’m not going to worry about the loss much. I know that we control our own destiny and that a win Friday will give us the No. 2 seed.”
Spring Creek fired up 72 shots against the Lady Indians, Miller calling each of the attempts “shots I could live with and good looks.”
The problem with the attempts was that only 16 of them found the bottom of the net, the Lady Spartans connecting at just 22 percent.
One shot that Spring Creek had great success with was the free throw, down pat and down net.
At the charity stripe, the Lady Spartans buried 24 of 30 tries – firing at 80 percent.
Junior Caitlyn Dimick scored 11 of her team-high 21 points at the line, misfiring on just one freebie.
Junior Shaylynn Yaunick scored eight of her 12 points in the second quarter.
“I thought Shay really carried us in the first half, and Caitlyn packed us in the fourth quarter,” Miller said.
Preparing for Lowry, Miller hopes the shooting percentage of her team increases across the board – needing multiple contributions from the roster – but the focus for Friday’s game is defense.
“When you play Lowry, you have to be aware of (Alyssa) Kuskie and (Sydney) Connors, but they have had other girls stepping up in their last few games,” Miller said. “We have to break their press and try to take away their flex offense. We have to close out on shooters.”
Kuskie leads the Lady Buckaroos in scoring at 12.2 points per game, Connors joining her in double digits with 10.5 points per contest.
Connors dishes a team-best 3.7 assists and tops the roster with three steals per contest – Kuskie making 2.2 takeaways per outing.
On the glass, senior Kyllie Sappington drags in a team-high 7.6 boards – adding 5.4 points in the post.
Following Spring Creek’s 37-36 victory on a free throw by junior Alayna Grosz with less than a second remaining on Jan. 12 in Winnemucca, Lowry ripped off a five-game winning streak before losing 65-39 on Saturday to defending state champion Fallon.
The Lady Spartans will attempt to hand the Lady Buckaroos their second straight loss and earn a No. 2 seed for the regional tournament at 6 p.m. Friday on senior night in Spring Creek.