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SPARKS – Three games into the Varsity Elite Tournament, Spring Creek’s girls basketball team’s record reads 2-1.

The Lady Spartans have won each of their last two games after a 48-39 victory over Division 4A program Damonte Ranch on Thursday at Reed High School.

Damonte Ranch outscored Spring Creek for the only time in the first quarter, using length and size inside to get the job done.

The Lady Mustangs scored 11 points and held the Lady Spartans to nine in the first period.

Junior Alayna Grosz keyed the Spring Creek offense early on, scoring seven of the team’s nine points in the first frame.

“Damonte Ranch is a different team than we have faced. They are quick and big,” said Spring Creek coach Holly Miller. “We struggled with their big post player in the first half. We tried to front her every time to start the game, but they lobbed passes over the top to her and she got great position.”

Spring Creek reached double figures for the first time in the second period, scoring 11 points and limiting Damonte Ranch to seven.

The game went to the break with Spring Creek on the high side by two points at 20-18.

“Their big girl had 10 points in the first half, but we made some adjustments at halftime and those paid off,” Miller said.

After allowing 10 points in the first half to Damonte Ranch’s post, the Lady Spartans clamped down in the middle and had a helper waiting in the wings – limiting her to four points in the second half.

“We played her three-quarters with someone on help side. We told the girls not to go for the steal as much and just deflect it out of there,” said Miller. “Kylee Dimick and Alayna Grosz did a really nice job defensively in the middle.”

Spring Creek scored 16 points in the third period; a streak Miller said was started by a “big three” by sophomore Ryley Ricks.

The Lady Mustangs put in 11 points in the third, but Spring Creek turned its two-point halftime lead into a seven-point advantage of 36-29 entering the final quarter.

The three by Ricks served as a jump-starter in the third, and two triples by another sophomore stamped her mark on the fourth.

Canning – present tense – canned, past tense.

Sophomore Elizabeth Canning drained a pair of shots from distance in the fourth quarter, scoring half of the team’s 12 points down the stretch.

Damonte Ranch needed 19 points in the fourth to force overtime, but the Lady Spartans ended all thoughts of that with a 10-point defensive effort over the final eight minutes.

“The girls quit reaching for the ball, especially in the backcourt. They kept the ball in front and made them get rid of it,” Miller said. “Once they passed the ball, we did a pretty good job of not letting them get it back.”

Spring Creek extended to a nine-point win by a final score of 48-39 over the Lady Mustangs.

Grosz led the Lady Spartans with 13 points, seven coming in the first quarter.

Senior Kaitlyn McLeod neared double figures with nine points, and Kylee Dimick finished with seven.

Canning scored all six of her points in the fourth quarter with a couple threes, and junior Jasmine Yadeskie also closed with six for Spring Creek.

SPRING CREEK – 9 – 11 – 16 – 12 – 48 Total

DAMONTE RANCH – 11 – 7 – 11 – 10 – 39 Total

The Lady Spartans will play their final game of the Varsity Elite Tournament at 11:30 a.m. Friday against the Lady Grizzlies of Loyalton (California) at Reed High School in Sparks.


Sports editor and reporter

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