ELKO — Her last name might be Lamb but she wasn’t sheepish.
While the Elko girls basketball team made another valiant run at taking down No. 4 Spring Creek, the fourth quarter turned into a shootout of young gunslingers — the Lady Spartans prevailing by a final score of 49-44.
Sophomore Shyann Lamb dropped nine points in the fourth for Spring Creek, which escaped nearly giving up a double-digit lead — while Elko freshman Aurora Eklund brought the Lady Indians back to within three on several occasions with 11 points in the final frame and a game-high 16.
Spring Creek scored on its first possession, junior Emma Campbell knocking down a long two from the right wing.
The Lady Spartans grabbed a 3-0 lead on a free throw by junior Chelsea Ackerman, but the Lady Indians tied the contest with a three from the right corner by senior Izzy Eklund on a dish from freshman Peyton Jacaway.
Spring Creek scored three points on a possession, gaining a free throw by junior Kylee Dimick and a put-back by sophomore Payge Walz.
Freshman Avery Beatty was fouled and brought Elko to within one at 6-5 with a pair of freebies.
On another clean trip to the line, Jacaway opened a 7-6 lead for the Lady Indians.
After a couple turnovers, Spring Creek the lead with a takeaway of its own — Lamb making a steal and a finish around a defender.
Eklund — arguably the best on-ball defender in the 3A North or the state — wreaked havoc in the backcourt, forcing several giveaways and a traveling call.
On the other end, the Lady Spartans cranked up their on-ball pressure — leading to Lamb’s second steal.
Spring Creek went into the single bonus with 3:07 remaining in the first quarter, Lamb hitting 1-for-2 at the stripe.
She then jumped a passing lane for her third steal and went to the bucket for a layup that spun around the rim numerous times and dropped.
Elko scored in transition as senior Katie Ross froze a defender with a hesitation dribble and a layup.
The Lady Indians tied the game with 1:25 on the clock, junior Sydnee Patterson putting the rock on the hardwood and scoring from the left block.
Spring Creek senior Ryley Ricks banked home a runner from the right side, opening a 13-11 by the end of the period.
Both teams struggled mightily to find the bottom of the net to start the second quarter, Ross finally breaking the stalemate with a jumper from the high post with 3:55 remaining in the half.
Dimick buried a pair of free throws and regained a 15-13 lead for the Lady Spartans, who pressed their defense up and forced a turnover — Ackerman scoring on a steal right under the hoop.
Aurora Eklund pump faked her defender and banked a runner off the glass and down, and then made a steal — hitting 1-of-2 at the line.
She gave Elko and 18-17 lead with a scoop shots with two minutes remaining in the half, scoring five straight in short order.
With 1:45 on the clock, Dimick was fouled on an offensive rebound and made 1-for-2 — tying the game.
Beatty made a steal for the Lady Indians and went coast-to-coast for a filthy left-handed finish and a two-point lead.
At the break, the Lady Indians led 20-18.
Campbell tied the ballgame with the first bucket of the third, draining a pull-up jumper on the right baseline.
On the other side, senior Summer Nielsen put Elko out front with a long two from the left wing.
Spring Creek tore off a quick 8-0 run.
Ackerman scored on a follow-up bucket, Campbell connected on another jumper from the right side and Dimick added consecutive deuces in transition from Elko turnovers.
The Lady Indians took a timeout trailing 28-22.
From the reset, the Lady Spartans sped up Elko once again and forced a turnover — resulting in an And-1 plus the free throw for Dimick on a pass by Campbell.
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Ross went 1-for-2 at the line and made the score 31-23, but the Lady Spartans pulled ahead 34-23 on a triple that crashed off the backboard for Ackerman.
Elko could not take advantage and work the ball inside without Dimick on the floor and outside shots did not fall.
Jacaway was fouled on an inbound play and made a free throw, making the score 34-24.
When Dimick returned, she scooped up a loose ball from a tipped pass and spun across the lane — using her length for a hoop plus the harm and the freebie.
Izzy Eklund nullified the points with a triple from the right corner — her second three from the same spot — drawing a charge on defense and sending Dimick back to the bench with four fouls.
Entering the fourth, Spring Creek was up 10 at 37-27.
Aurora Eklund opened the final frame with consecutive buckets and brought the score to 31-27, but Lamb cashed a huge three from the top of the arc for Spring Creek.
Patterson went 1-for-2 at the line, and a long two by Aurora Eklund — her third field goal of the frame — brought the Lady Indians to within six.
She continued to go off, taking the contact and finishing an And-1 on the right block with 5:36 remaining.
The free throw made the score 40-37.
Lamb buried a pull-up jumper from the right elbow, but Aurora Eklund hammered a long deuce from straightaway.
The continued the exchange, as Lamb swapped sides of the floor and hit a jumper from the left wing.
A pair of free throws by Izzy Eklund pulled the Lady Indians back to within three at 44-41.
Jacaway fouled out of the game with a defensive call in the backcourt, but Dimick earned her fifth foul with an offensive charge.
With 2:17 on the clock, Elko went to the line with a double bonus — Beatty stroking 1-of-2 and making the score 44-42.
Freshman Rylee Keim went to the line for the Lady Spartans with 1:45 on the clock and hit the front end of a one-and-one.
With a shade more than a minute on the clock, Spring Creek missed the front end and fouled — sending Nielsen to the line with 1:07 remaining.
She hit the first freebie, but the rebound on the second was gathered by the Lady Spartans — the ball finding Keim on the break for a deuce.
Ross was fouled and made 1-of-2, but the Lady Indians were forced to foul with 24 seconds remaining — Keim coming up with a huge block — Elko sending Lamb to the line.
She had ice water in her veins, draining both shots for a 49-44 lead.
Elko’s attempts from the outside were left wanting, and the Lady Spartans staved off another Elko rally for a 49-44 victory.
Lamb finished with 14 points — scoring nine in the fourth quarter — Dimick matching her for Spring Creek’s team high with 14 of her own.
Ackerman neared double digits with eight points, Campbell added six points and Keim finished with three points.
Spring Creek’s offense was rounded out by two points apiece for Walz and Ricks.
Elko was paced by a game-best 16 points by Aurora Eklund — who dropped 11 in the fourth quarter — followed by eight points from Izzy Eklund, who buried two 3s.
Ross finished with six points, Beatty tallied five points and the Lady Indians’ scoring was capped by three points apiece for Nielsen, Patterson and Jacaway.
SPRING CREEK — 13 — 5 — 19 — 12 — 49 Total
ELKO — 11 — 9 — 7 — 17 — 44 Total
The Lady Spartans (14-9 overall, 11-5 in league) will travel and play the No. Lady Wolverines (18-4 overall, 13-3 in league) at 6 p.m. Friday, in Truckee, California.
Elko (11-12 overall, 9-7 in league) will open its road trip against North Valleys (7-15 overall, 5-10 in league) at 6 p.m. Friday, in Reno.