SPRING CREEK – One thing is certain about Tuesday’s matchup between the Spring Creek and Elko girls basketball teams.
One team will improve to 3-2; the other will fall to 2-3 in league play of the Division 3A North.
The Lady Spartans enter the game on a three-game winning streak, closing the Varsity Elite Tournament in Sparks with a 3-1 record.
Elko will go into Spring Creek on a three-game slide, finishing with an 0-3 mark during the Jerry Callen Memorial Tournament in Jerome, Idaho.
The Lady Spartans have been receiving contributions from a vast number of players up and down their roster, posting an average of 51.1 points per game.
The Lady Indians are trying to find their stride offensively, scoring 44.4 points per game.
One of the differences between the teams has been the number of players who score the basketball.
While Spring Creek does not have a double-digit scorer – freshman Kylee Dimick leading the team at nine points per game – the Lady Spartans have five players scoring 6.6 points or more per contest, eight players averaging 3.1 points or more, nine adding 2.5 or more.
The Lady Indians only have five players averaging 4.3 points or more and five giving 1.9 or more, led by senior and double-figure scorer Lexi Baum at 10.1 points per game.
Baum also leads Elko with 6.3 rebounds per game, but Spring Creek is surprisingly topped in boards by junior guard Jasmine Yadeskie at 6.8 per game, Dimick pulling down 6.6 per contest.
Elko has shot a better percentage from the floor at 35 percent, Spring Creek connecting on 32 percent of its attempts.
One of the biggest discrepancies has been in free throw attempts, the Lady Spartans taking 16 per game to Elko’s 11.5 tries per contest.
“We want to be aggressive and get to the line,” said Spring Creek coach Holly Miller. “We have to stay out of foul trouble on defense.”
In Elko’s losses, ball control has been an issue.
The Lady Indians average nearly 18 turnovers per game – mainly stemming from pressure in the backcourt – the Lady Spartans committing three less giveaways per contest.
“Elko is pretty long and athletic, so we can’t force the middle too much. We have to make strong passes,” Miller said. “Defensively, we want to apply pressure, especially on their guards.”
Elko head coach Kaaren Ross said she saw improvement in the Lady Indians’ final loss in Jerome, following with a good practice Saturday – something she hopes will continue throughout the season and Tuesday.
“We played a better game against Burley, but we still aren’t scoring enough,” Ross said. “The girls have to start playing with confidence. They’re too safe right now, and we can’t be as good as we can be by being conservative. You can’t buy confidence at the store, and I can’t get it to them. Confidence comes from making mistakes, learning from them and then finding out you can succeed in game situations.”
Spring Creek makes 11.2 steals per game – led by 2.4 thefts by senior Kaitlyn McLeod – while the Lady Indians have averaged 8.9 steals per contest and are led by 1.4 steals apiece from seniors Lauryn Drake and Sariah Pulley.
The teams are currently in a three-way tie for fourth with Truckee – Fallon, Lowry and Fernley all unbeaten atop the 3A North standings.
Spring Creek or Elko will potentially gain an upper hand Tuesday over Truckee (2-2), the Lady Spartans hosting the Lady Wolverines on Friday and the Lady Indians playing Truckee on Saturday in Elko.
The early-season meeting between the Lady Indians and Lady Spartans, one already with possible postseason-seeding implications, will take tip off at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Spring Creek.