WINNEMUCCA – The Spring Creek girls basketball team’s game Friday was not a pretty, flashy or high-scoring affair – it was a war of attrition.
Spring Creek prevailed in a dark-alley-type slugfest, defeating Lowry 37-36 in the final seconds – the Lady Spartans breaking a tie and moving to third place in the Division 3A North standings.
Spring Creek only scored four points in the first period, allowing 13 points to Lowry.
The roles switched in the second quarter, the Lady Spartans tightening the screws defensively.
Spring Creek scored 15 points in the second, allowing the Lady Bucks just six.
At the break, the game was gridlocked 19-19.
In the third, Lowry narrowly edged the Lady Spartans 7-6.
Joining the radio action at the beginning of the fourth quarter, Lowry led 26-25.
The Lady Buckaroos opened the frame with a 4-0 run, all points coming from junior Sydney Connors.
Connors scored a deuce and tallied the next two points from the charity stripe.
Spring Creek closed the gap to four with a free throw by freshman Kylee Dimick, the Lady Spartans inching to within two on a pair from the line by junior Jasmine Yadeskie.
Another free throw for the Lady Spartans by junior Shaylynn Yaunick sliced the deficit to one and capped a 4-0 run for Spring Creek.
Connors came up big from the line once again for the Lady Bucks, dropping a pair for a 32-29 lead with five minutes remaining.
Dimick made an offensive rebound and dropped a high-arching shot for the Lady Spartans – pulling Spring Creek to within one at 32-31 – but senior Alyssa Kuskie drained a clutch three for Lowry and a four-point advantage with three minutes on the clock.
Neither team was strong with the ball and the defenses forced several turnovers by the other offense, the squads often trading giveaways within mere seconds in back-and-forth flurries.
With three minutes remaining, Dimick cut the lead to three with a free throw.
She was aggressive and earned another trip to the stripe, making a clean stint and cutting the lead to one with 2:18 remaining.
The freshman packed the Lady Spartans in crunch time – scoring a deuce with 1:45 on the clock – giving Spring Creek a one-point lead at 36-35 with 1:45 remaining.
Lowry came down the floor and fired up an airball on its next trip in an attempt to regain the lead.
Several timeouts were taken in the following moments, each team scheming against pressure.
Spring Creek gave the ball away with a big travel call with 34 seconds remaining, giving the Lady Bucks a chance to take the lead.
The Lady Spartans were called for a blocking foul, but the first free throw by Connors bounced off the rim.
Down to the second attempt, the junior made the critical shot – tying the ballgame at 36-all.
Spring Creek’s attempt to take the lead with four seconds remaining went out of bounds, but Lowry’s inbound pass was stolen.
Junior Alayna Grosz was fouled while going up and went to the line with one second on the clock.
The first free throw was off-mark, but the second was all-money.
Spring Creek took a one-point lead, and Lowry’s full-court heave went wanting – the Lady Spartans earning a critical 37-36 victory.
The Lady Spartans improved to 6-2 in the Division 3A North, breaking a tie for third place and dropping Lowry to 5-3.
In defeat, Connor scored a game-high 19 points for the Lady Bucks.
The Lady Spartans were topped by 12 points by Dimick, scoring eight points in the fourth quarter.
Kuskie finished 12 points for Lowry.
Junior Caitlyn Dimick gave the Lady Spartans eight points – six coming in the second quarter – and Yadeskie closed with seven points.
Yaunick finished with four points, and the most crucial of Grosz’s three points came on the game-winning free throw.
SPRING CREEK 4 15 6 12 37 Total LOWRY 13 6 7 10 36 Total “I was really pleased with how the girls kept their composure in such a tough place to play. Other than Elko, I think Lowry is the hardest place to play at. It’s a smaller gym, the fans are right on top of the floor and it was loud when Alayna missed that first free throw,” said Spring Creek coach Holly Miller. “For her to sit a lot of the game and come in cold and make that free throw at the end was big. The defense did a good job of finding Connors and Kuskie on the last play to make sure they never got a clean look at a half-court shot at the buzzer. This was a huge win for us.”
The Lady Spartans will begin the second half of the league slate against a major test, opening against the defending state champion Lady Greenwave of Fallon at 6 p.m. Friday in Spring Creek.
Spring Creek will close the home stand against Fernley at 1 p.m. Saturday, finishing the two-game stint against the only teams to beat the Lady Spartans in the first half of the league season.