ELKO – Friday’s contest between Lowry and Spring Creek in the Division 3A North regional semifinal looked a lot more like the first meeting – a one-point Spring Creek win in Winnemucca – than the 22-point thumping the Lady Buckaroos handed the Lady Spartans in Spring Creek.
Spring Creek battled tooth-and-nail, but missed shots and opportunities resulted in a four-point loss by a final score of 53-49, Lowry on the high side.
Junior Caitlyn Dimick scored the first point of the game from the line for the Lady Spartans, but Lowry took a 3-1 advantage on an And-1 triple by junior Sydney Connors.
Lowry built a 6-1 lead with three straight points by sophomore Sierra Masterjuan.
Spring Creek struggled to get the ball inside of Lowry’s 2-3 zone other than from offensive rebounds.
The Lady Spartans’ first field goal came from a scrum on a loose ball, senior Kaitlyn McLeod finding junior Shaylynn Yaunick for a bunny on the weak side.
Senior Kyllie Sappington knocked down a free throw, Connors adding a pair for the Lady Buckaroos.
Dimick made one of two from the line, sophomore Cheyenne Cleveland scoring on the break from a steal by McLeod.
Lowry went up 12-6 on a three from an offensive board by Connors, but the Lady Spartans were awarded the single-bonus with 19 seconds remaining in the first half.
Junior Delaynee Walz buried both attempts, pulling Spring Creek to within four at 12-8 to close the frame.
Connors opened the second period with a friendly bounce on a jumper from the elbow, but the Lady Spartans earned a three-point play from junior Alayna Grosz on the left block.
Junior Brooke Hansen extended Lowry’s lead to five with a jumper on the baseline, but freshman Kylee Dimick penetrated from the high post to the right block and finished against a foul for the Lady Spartans – Spring Creek beginning to find success at getting the ball to the middle of the defense.
Sappington made a freebie, followed by two from Caitlyn Dimick.
A deuce by Connors gave Lowry a 19-15 lead, but junior Jasmine Yadeskie slimmed the deficit to three with a free throw.
The Lady Bucks went on a 6-0 run from an And-1 drive by junior Julisa Garcia and four points from Connors.
Yaunick scored all alone on the left block for Spring Creek, followed by a ridiculous flip from Connors off-glass with the foul.
Sophomore Ryley Ricks buried a big three for the Lady Spartans, but Connors worked to middle for a floater for Lowry.
Junior Heather Hall made a free throw for the Lady Bucks’ final point of the half, and Spring Creek closed with a 4-0 spurt from the K(C)aitlyns.
McLeod drove the right baseline for a layup, and Caitlyn Dimick buried a turnaround jumper on the left baseline.
At the break, Lowry led by five at 30-25.
The Lady Spartans cut the lead to three on their first possession of the third quarter, senior Teagan Ashby scoring her first bucket from the left block.
The deficit increased to six on Lowry’s first offensive trip, Connors reaching 20 points with a three from the left wing.
Grosz grabbed an offensive board and made a free throw, trimming the lead to five at 33-28.
Both teams struggled to hit shots, the first half of the third quarter providing six points total.
Yadeskie made a free with 5:53 on the clock, Connors adding a freebie for Lowry.
A silly foul by Lowry under its own basket put Spring Creek in the bonus with 2:30 remaining in the third, but the shot was missed.
The Lady Bucks committed another foul 80 feet away on its next possession, but the Lady Spartans could not take advantage once again.
McLeod made a picture-perfect lob over the D, but Spring Creek missed a bunny.
McLeod came away with a steal and took matters into her own hands, going coast-to-coast and making the score 34-31 by the end of an ugly third period.
Held in check nearly the entire game, Kuskie – the league’s deadliest shooter – nailed her second triple to start the fourth period.
Yadeskie booked a deuce for the Lady Spartans, followed by a two from Sappington.
At the stripe, Yadeskie stuck two free throws and pulled Spring Creek to within four.
A Lowry foul put the Lady Spartans in the double-bonus with 5:27 remaining, Caitlyn Dimick slicing the lead in half with two free throws.
Yadeskie dropped an eight-footer from the left side, tying the game at 39-all with five minutes remaining.
Kuskie came free on an inbound pass and nailed her third three of the game, regaining a 42-39 advantage for the Lady Bucks.
Kylee Dimick hit two free throws and cut the lead to one, and McLeod blocked Connors on a three but Spring Creek was called for a travel in the open floor.
The Lady Spartans were issued a technical foul, Connors dropping both attempts.
Caitlyn Dimick made a strong move across the lane and finished with her left hand, and Connors was hurt on the play – leaving the game.
Instead of holding the ball with a one-point lead, Lowry took a shot not from a shooter.
Spring Creek had multiple open layups fall off the rim, Sappington grabbing a crucial rebound for Lowry.
With 1:08 remaining, Kuskie was fouled and buried both free throws.
Yadeskie knifed the lane along the left side, pulling the Lady Spartans to within one at 46-45 with 50 seconds remaining.
Connors tickled the rim and the net for Lowry on her first freebie, also netting the second.
On the other end, Spring Creek wisely elected for a two – Yadeskie swishing a jumper from the elbow with 18.5 seconds on the clock.
The Lady Spartans finally sent someone other than Connors or Kuskie to the stripe, but Sappington stuck both shots.
Yadeskie immediately answered with a floater from the right side, trimming the lead to one with eight ticks remaining.
Kuskie went to the line and made the first shot but missed the second, but Lowry grabbed the offensive board – ballgame.
Connors connected on two attempts, Lowry withstanding a great effort by the Lady Spartans by a final score of 53-49.
She finished with a game-high 27 points, scoring 17 in the first half.
Yadeskie closed with 14 for the Lady Spartans, 13 coming after the break.
Kuskie scored nine of her 12 in the second half, hitting three 3s.
Caitlyn Dimick notched eight for Spring Creek, Grosz following with six.
SPRING CREEK – 8 – 17 – 6 – 18 – 49 Total
LOWRY – 12 – 18 – 4 – 19 – 54 Total
The Lady Buckaroos booked a trip to state and the regional championship, Lowry facing the Elko-Fallon winner at 3 p.m. Saturday at Centennial Gymnasium.