RENO – After dropping its first two games of the season in the High Sierra Winter Classic, the Spring Creek girls basketball team righted the ship in its tourney finale.
The Lady Spartans went 1-2 in Reno, opening with losses to Douglas and Spanish Springs – earning their first victory of the year Saturday against Damonte Ranch.
Spring Creek’s season tipped off Thursday against Douglas, a contest which the Lady Spartans dropped 52-48.
The four-point loss can be viewed in a number of ways; obviously a close game that got away or perhaps a contest the Lady Spartans played well enough in to win by a lopsided margin if it was not for one glaring statistic – free throws.
“We should have won the first game. We were 23-for-47 at the free-throw line,” said Spring Creek head coach Holly Miller.
Shooting 48 percent from the stripe will not get things done in the long run, but the percentage was not as much of a determining factor in the loss as it would be if Spring Creek only shot a limited number of shots from the line.
In a four-point loss, Spring Creek gave away 24 points on uncontested shots from 15 feet.
Miller said her team appeared nervous in the early going but was “happy to see the fight in them” as the game progressed.
“We were down 10 in the first but we outscored them by seven in the second and six in the third and made a 20-2 run,” she said. “We took the lead into the fourth quarter, but we couldn’t hit our free throws and they got hot from three. It was frustrating that we couldn’t finish.”
Senior wing Caitlyn Dimick led the Lady Spartans with 13 points, joined in double digits by 10 points from senior point guard Jasmine Yadeskie.
Versus Spanish Springs
Following a should-have-been loss in the season opener, Miller said Spring Creek “rebounded well and that’s about it” on Friday against Spanish Springs.
The Lady Cougars rolled to a 55-36 victory.
“We were down 10 after the first quarter and let them go on a run in the third,” she said. “We played them pretty evenly in the second and the fourth, but we turned the ball over a lot and missed our free throws again.”
Spring Creek struggled out of the gates, posting just two points in the first quarter.
The second period provided an even 14-14 affair, and fourth quarter played out 15-12 in favor of Spanish Springs – the difference coming in a 12-2 advantage in the first and a 14-8 score in the third for the Lady Cougars.
No Spring Creek player scored in double digits, led by nine points from senior post Alayna Grosz and eight points by senior guard Delaynee Walz.
Versus Damonte Ranch
In the Lady Spartans’ tournament finale of the High Sierra Winter Classic, Spring Creek played its most complete basketball of the trip and ensured the bus ride home would not be one without a victory to its credit.
On Saturday, Spring Creek showed some toughness in some adverse moments and stayed the course for an eight-point, 52-44 win over the Lady Mustangs.
One of the Lady Spartans’ strengths during the tourney was on full display against Damonte Ranch, rebounding the basketball.
For the game, Spring Creek jerked down 59 boards – finishing with an amazing 29-offensive rebounds.
“There were times we made four or five rebounds before we scored. The girls rebounded very well,” Miller said. “I’d like to see us score more off those rebounds, but they were working hard.”
Spring Creek also cut down on its turnovers, closing the contest with fewer than 20.
“Damonte Ranch made a run in the fourth, but we were able to close it out,” said Miller. “They went to a full-court, man-to-man press that we were able to break and score in transition against. The girls kept their composure and never looked scared.”
Remarkably, three Lady Spartans posted double-doubles in the victory over the Lady Mustangs.
Yadeskie scored a team-high 16 points and pulled down a team-best 13 rebounds, Grosz put in 14 points and grabbed 12 boards and Dimick finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
“We have to work on limiting our turnovers, and we have to get more physical,” Miller said. We have to get mentally and physically stronger.”
The Lady Spartans will open league play of the Division 3A North in their next contest, taking on Sparks at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, in Spring Creek.