SPRING CREEK – The Spring Creek boys basketball team can keep its hopes alive for a No. 2 seed and first-round bye with a victory on senior night, but the Spartans must avenge a loss against Lowry following one of the biggest wins in program history.
Spring Creek knocked off Elko 61-51 on Tuesday at Centennial Gymnasium, snapping the Indians’ 71-game home winning streak.
The Spartans will look to conclude the regular season with an 11-5 record, needing to beat a Lowry team that owned the first matchup of the season by a final score of 60-42 on Jan. 12 in Winnemucca.
The matchup will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Spring Creek, serving as senior night for a large class of Spartans.
Spring Creek’s roster contains eight seniors; five starters and three bench players.
Seniors Ryan Miner, Dakota Larson, Levi Yaunick, Thomas Ledford, Jake Oliphant, Daniel Eary, Caden Jangard and Garrett Brorby will play the final games of their careers in front of the Spring Creek fans.
“This is an excellent class, and in every sport. They are a talented group and great in the classroom,” said Spring Creek coach Scott Carsrud. “They are going to be sorely missed.”
The Spartans hope senior night will provide the same type of shooting exhibition Spring Creek put on Tuesday in Elko, finishing a red-hot 62 percent from the floor and 18-for-21 at the line for a 90-percent clip on free throws.
When Spring Creek lost by 18 to the Buckaroos in the first meeting of the season, the Spartans were without Oliphant due to a sprained ankle – and Lowry took advantage in the middle in his absence.
Junior Dorsey Naveran had a field day, scoring 18 of his 20 points in the second and third quarters – sitting the fourth period.
“Not having Jake was tough. He makes us a different team, but we didn’t really do anything well that night. It was just an off-game for us,” Carsrud said. “We didn’t take care of the ball, we didn’t rebound well and we didn’t execute on defense. We played bad basketball for 32 minutes.”
Oliphant scored a game-high 20 points Tuesday in Elko, knocking down two 3s.
Following the monumental victory over the Indians, Carsrud said he reminded his team there is still work to be done and basketball to be played.
“We had a pretty-light two days of practice, but the kids were focused,” Carsrud said. “I told them that we can’t be complacent and that we have another game to win Friday.”
While Oliphant did not play in the Jan. 12 meeting, the contest marked the first game back for then-injured Lowry sophomore Kobe Stoker – who added another 6-foot-3 body to the Buckaroos’ lineup.
Lowry and Spring Creek are among the biggest teams in the Division 3A North, so Friday’s matchup will likely come down to execution, defense and rebounding – the bulk of the action stemming in the paint.
“I think our team has improved the most throughout the season in its patience on offense and running our stuff. The execution has really developed,” Carsrud said. “Our defense has gotten better at helping and rotating into position to take charges. We will have to play solid defense and rebound, but Lowry is a big team across the board. They have a couple kids they bring off their bench who are 6-3, so we have to play tough.”
The Spartans will look to solidify their third-place position in the league standings and keep their hopes alive for a No. 2 seed and first-round bye for the regional tournament – tipping off at 7:30 p.m. Friday on senior night in Spring Creek.