SPRING CREEK – The Spring Creek boys basketball team is still alive for a No. 2 seed and first-round bye in the Division 3A North tournament, but the game was in question early on Friday against Lowry.
Following an 18-point loss to the Buckaroos in Winnemucca, the Spartans got off to a sluggish start and could not hits shots – but Spring Creek warmed up offensively and clamped down on defense – rolling to a 47-33 win over the Bucks.
Lowry junior Brendan Domire opened the scoring with a three from the left corner, but the Spartans struggled to mount offense in the early stages of the game.
The Buckaroos took a 4-0 lead on a free throw by sophomore Kobe Stoker.
Spring Creek went three and half minutes before gaining its first points on a pull-up jumper by senior Dakota Larson.
Domire connected on his second triple for the Bucks, opening a 7-2 lead.
The lead was cut to 7-5 on an And-1 finish and a free throw by senior Ryan Miner, the Spartans taking an 8-7 lead on a three by senior Levi Yaunick from the right wing on a pass from Larson.
Leads changed again on a pull-up jumper from the right elbow by Lowry junior Oscar Juanes, Yaunick giving the Spartans the high side at 10-9 with a runner across the lane.
A runner by Lowry senior Lorenzo Mattson pushed the Bucks up one, the period closing with a jumper from the right side by junior Dorsey Naveran on a dish from Stoker.
Spring Creek trailed 13-10 after the first.
The Spartans scored the first point of the second on a freebie by Larson, tying the game at 13-all on a baseline jumper from senior Thomas Ledford.
Junior Scottie Smith hit a jumper from the top of the key for a 15-13 advantage for Lowry, the Spartans cutting into the deficit with a free throw by senior Daniel Eary.
Spring Creek’s defense settled in and forced multiple turnovers, also making better closeouts and taking away clean looks for Lowry.
Miner gave Spring Creek a two-point lead with a three, answered by a triple from the left corner for the Bucks from Juanes on a pass by senior Dominick Solis.
A deuce by Miner provided the difference in the first half, giving the Spartans a one-point lead with 1:10 on the clock.
At the break, Spring Creek led a low-scoring, physical battle, 19-18.
The Spartans opened the second half with three quick buckets.
Larson grabbed Spring Creek’s third offensive rebound of the same possession, notching a put-back from the left side.
Yaunick made a steal and finished at the rim, senior Jake Oliphant going strong through contact and banking a shot down for a 25-18 lead.
The Bucks took a timeout but still struggled to score out of the break, the Spartans using quick feet and active hands to force tipped passes and tough shots.
Spring Creek extended its run, Larson banging home a midrange J from the right elbow and Yaunick using solid ball movement for an easy bunny on the left block.
Ledford banked in a turnaround from the right side, followed by a free throw from Yaunick after a transition breakaway on a Lowry turnover.
With three minutes remaining in the third, the Spartans led by 14 at 32-18.
Lowry did not tally its first points of the third until two minutes remaining in the period, scoring on a layup by Domire following a Spring Creek turnover.
The Bucks pulled within 10 on a follow of his own miss by Mattson with 1:20 on the clock.
Oliphant went off-glass for the final bucket of the frame, opening a 34-22 advantage entering the fourth.
Naveran made a free throw for the Bucks, matched on the end with a freebie by Yaunick – who cashed a weak-side three from the left on a pass from senior Caden Jangard – opening a 15-point lead with 5:45 on the clock.
The Bucks went ice-cold from the floor, the Spartans shutting down Lowry’s offense almost entirely.
Yaunick dribbled down the floor, hit the brakes and banked in a pull-up jumper with four minutes remaining for a 40-23 lead.
He scored eight straight for the Spartans, capping the personal run with a layup from a steal and dish by sophomore Reed Westwood.
Lowry’s first field goal of the fourth came five minutes into the period, a three by junior Shai Welsh.
Oliphant made two free throws, and the Spring Creek crowd went crazy with 2:31 remaining as senior Garrett Brorby and junior Brock Gilligan checked into the game.
The Bucks scored three in a row on a free throw by Welsh and a layup from a steal by junior Logan Peters.
With 1:31 on the clock, the crowd got lit once again.
Brorby stepped to the line and neither one of his free throws found rim; they were all net.
Senior Darian Solis scored four points in a row for Lowry, but Jangard tallied the final point from the stripe for the Spartans.
Spring Creek overcame a poor start and cruised to a 47-33 win, allowing just 15 points in the second half.
Yaunick finished with a game-high 18 points, scoring 13 in the second half and knocking down two 3s.
Miner scored eight points, Larson finished with seven and Oliphant closed with six for the Spartans.
Domire led Lowry with eight points, six coming on two 3s in the first period.
Juanes finished with five points for the Bucks.
LOWRY – 13 – 5 – 5 – 10 – 33 Total
SPRING CREEK – 10 – 9 – 15 – 13 – 47 Total
The Spartans wrapped up the regular season with an 11-5 mark in league play of the Division 3A North, riding an eight-game winning streak – going perfect in the second half of the schedule.
Spring Creek now awaits the result of the Fallon at South Tahoe game on Saturday, the Greenwave currently in second place of the 3A North standings.
The regional tournament will begin Thursday, Feb. 15 at Centennial Gymnasium – the Spartans guaranteed no worse than a No. 3 seed.
Lowry plays a crucial contest for their postseason hopes at 2:30 p.m. Saturday against Elko at Centennial Gymnasium.