SPRING CREEK – After a period of play, it appeared the Elko girls basketball team would give Spring Creek a tough battle.
From the second quarter on, one team handled adversity well – the other not so much.
Spring Creek gained offensive traction and put the defensive clamps on, rolling to a 52-37 victory over the Lady Indians on Tuesday, breaking a tie in the 3A North standings.
The Lady Indians began the game well, both offensively and defensively.
Elko played hard-nosed defense and broke Spring Creek’s press by attacking the middle first and then looking to the wings once across midcourt.
Senior Lexi Baum scored the first three points of the game from the line, Elko taking a 5-0 advantage on a short-corner jumper by junior Alexis Elquist on a feed from senior Gabe Rowley.
The Lady Spartans found open shots hard to come by and could not finish when they had a decent look.
Elko took a 7-0 lead with a bucket in transition off a press break, senior Sariah Pulley scoring ahead of the pack on a look from Elquist.
Spring Creek’s first points came three minutes into the game, coming on an inbound pass from beneath their own basket.
Junior Jasmine Yadeskie worked free on a curl and made a layup from the left side.
The Lady Indians responded with four points.
Elko used pretty ball movement on the break, the ball starting with Elquist and moving to the wing to Pulley, who found Baum in the lane for a finish.
Pulley followed with two free throws for an 11-2 lead, but Spring Creek freshman Kylee Dimick made a strong drive and split the Elko double team, scoring on the right block.
Elquist cleaned up a loose ball in the lane with a reverse layup on the other end, but Spring Creek’s saving grace was sophomore Elizabeth Canning.
She lined up a three from the left wing, pulling the Lady Spartans to within six at 13-7.
The left side worked, why not try the left?
Canning pulled the trigger, buckets.
The period closed with Spring Creek on a 6-0 run courtesy of back-to-back threes, Elko on top 13-10.
Both teams struggled to find the hoop to start the second quarter.
Elquist broke the drought with a penetration drive down the right side of the key, but Elko would not score for quite some time.
Yadeskie buried a jumper from midrange and drew the foul, completing the three-point play at the line.
She tied the game with a deuce at the 5:30 mark, making the score 15-all.
Senior Kaitlyn McLeod gave Spring Creek the lead with a one-person fast break, finishing with a layup.
Dimick pushed the lead to four with a spin move along the right block.
McLeod made a filthy Euro step and faked out everyone with a finger roll, and sophomore Ryley Ricks extended the advantage to eight with an offensive rebound.
Spring Creek stymied Elko’s offense by simply taking away the middle.
The Lady Indians made little to no penetration, drawing a charge when they finally did.
The Lady Spartans capped a 16-0 run with another big three by Canning, her third of the ballgame at the 1:30 mark.
Spring Creek built a 26-15 lead before Elko finally made a drive to the lane and drew a foul, only the fifth of the game for the Lady Spartans.
Sophomore Katie Ross scored the Lady Indians’ first points in nearly five minutes, knocking down two free throws and adding another in a split trip to the stripe.
Elko did not reach the single bonus until less than a minute remaining in the half.
Elquist found Baum for an easy finish on the left block from an inbound play, but Spring Creek junior Caitlyn Dimick made one free throw on the other end.
Baum switched roles for the next bucket and final of the period, finding Elquist with a perfect lob over the top of Spring Creek’s fronting defense.
The tale of two quarters resulted in a 27-21 lead for the Lady Spartans at the break, outscoring Elko 17-6 in the second period.
Yadeskie began the third period with a nasty pull-up jumper and the foul, but Elquist sank a three for the Lady Indians from the left wing on a kick from Baum.
Elko’s defense started to take away Spring Creek’s passing lanes, and the Lady Spartans dribbled their way into trouble and committed turnovers.
Pulley pulled Elko to within three with a jumper from the left wing on a dish from Rowley, but junior Alayna Grosz was the meanest kid on the block for the Lady Spartans inside – wrestling away an offensive rebound with sheer grit and scoring from the left side.
Rowley made a free throw for the Lady Indians, but Elko missed out on closing the gap by missing a wide-open three from the top of the arc and yipping a couple bunnies from point-break range.
Kylee Dimick put the Lady Spartans on top 32-27 with a free throw, and Elko was called for a three-second violation.
Yadeskie scored a deuce and made the margin seven points, junior Delaynee Walz also sinking a free throw.
Elko junior Brenna Hendrix made a solid move out of a trap and was fouled, finishing one of two from the stripe.
Entering the fourth quarter, Spring Creek led 35-28.
The Lady Indians missed out on a chance to cut into the deficit at the line, but Pulley splashed a three and made the margin six at 37-31.
Yadeskie continued to play solid basketball for the Lady Spartans, taking what defense gave her for a bucket.
Grosz made another tough finish in the lane, earning a trip to the free throw line on the next possession and calmly draining both shots for a 12-point lead of 43-31 with a 6-0 run.
Baum yanked down an offensive rebound and stopped the bleeding for the Lady Indians on the left block, but Elko lost Caitlyn Dimick on the break – but her teammates did not.
Her layup gave Spring Creek a 45-33 lead.
Elko senior Lauryn Drake drew a blocking foul with a drive down the right side and made two free throws, but Spring Creek senior Teagan Ashby erased the run with a pair from the stripe also.
Ross drew Elko within 10 with less than a minute remaining after making a steal, but the Lady Indians had too many wasted trips and time was not on their side.
Grosz was cool as a cucumber with another two-for-two stint at the line.
Down 12 with 15 seconds remaining, the Lady Indians felt the urge to keep fouling.
Junior Shaylynn Yaunick added a free throw, Yadeskie leaving her mark on the game with one second on the clock – burying two from the line and giving Spring Creek a 52-37 victory.
Yadeskie scored a game-high 15 points, seven in the first half and eight in the second.
Canning’s nine points came on three 3s in the first half, and Grosz gave the Lady Spartans all eight of her points after the break.
Caitlyn and Kylee Dimick each finished five points for Spring Creek.
Elquist led Elko with 11 points, eight coming before halftime.
Seven of Baum’s points came before the break for the Lady Indians.
Pulley closed with nine points.
ELKO – 13 – 8 – 7 – 9 – 37 Total
SPRING CREEK – 10 – 17 – 8 – 17 – 52 Total
The Lady Spartans (3-2) will host Truckee (2-2) at 6 p.m. Friday in Spring Creek.
The Lady Indians will attempt to find the win column after four straight losses at 6 p.m. Friday against Sparks at Centennial Gymnasium.