Spanish Springs held a double-digit lead in each of the first three quarters Tuesday night at home against Bishop Manogue and Marcus Loadholt exploded for 35 points. But it wasn’t enough.
The Miners (4-1, 2-0) battled back from each deficit, including a 14-2 hole out of the gate, and stole a big early-season game from the Cougs, 71-67.
Spanish Springs fell to 3-2, 1-1.
“The sport’s motto, or theme, is early leads turn to late losses,” Spanish Springs coach Kyle Penney said. “And we were a victim of that tonight and we just didn’t handle it well. We got to a big lead and we didn’t handle it well.”
The Miners did not a hold a lead of their own the entire night until junior Brevon Bansuelo drilled a triple 19 seconds into the fourth, pushing the guests up 52-51. His freshman brother, Gabe, followed with another three as part of an 8-0 run to start to the fourth, growing the lead to six. Manogue did not trail again.
Gabe Bansuelo led the Miners with 23 points on 6-of-8 shooting from deep.
The back-to-back triples from the Bansuelo brothers were part of a night-long theme as the Miners connected on 10 shots from behind the arc.
“We got a lot of guys who can shoot,” Bishop Manogue coach Ralph Fields said. “It’ll be interesting to see if that’s a norm for us.”
Penney attributed the 30 points given up from deep to the Miners’ shooting, as well as defensive lapses.
“We weren’t very good defensively tonight,” Penney said. “We had them in some bad spots and guys were just stuck in the sand. We didn’t rotate well at all and those (were) where those threes came off of.”
After the Miners took control early in the fourth, Spanish Springs’ Jalen Townsell drove to the bucket and tied the game at 64 with 1:56 left, his only hoop of the night. The Cougs, however, weren’t able to regain control, due in part to a pair of mental mistakes down the stretch.
Trailing 66-65 with 1:19 remaining and the Miners inbounding the ball, a Coug unintentionally tipped the ball out of inbounder Kolton Frugoli’s hands, an automatic technical foul—two free throws and retained possession. Frugoli split the pair.
The Cougs again sent Frugoli to the line with 45 seconds left, now down 67-65, for a one-and-one. He missed the front end only to be awarded another chance after a lane violation. He proceeded to knock both down and essentially end the game.
“We shot ourselves in the foot there at the end,” Penney said. “It’s a kid competing, trying to make a play. He didn’t do it intentionally.”
Loadholt scored 25 of his game-high 35 in the first half as the Cougs took a 39-33 lead to the break.
He was the only Coug to finish in double figures. Josh Prizina and Ryan Anderson both finished with eight.
Mitch Woods tied the game at 22 for Manogue less than a minute into the second before Spanish Springs went on an 11-0 run. Prizina scored the first four and Loadholt scored the next seven.
Gabe Bansuelo buried his fourth-straight triple to start the game inside the final minute to leave the Miners down just six at the half.
His shooting kept Manogue in the game early despite a Loadholt barrage. He hit all three of his shots from deep in the first quarter as the Miners trailed just 22-20 after eight minutes.
Loadholt scored 17 points in the first quarter alone, including 14 of Spanish Springs’ first 17 to spot the hosts an early 17-5 lead before the Miners, led by Gabe Bansuelo’s shooting, snuck within two at the end of the initial quarter.
“We’re locked in to what we’re trying to do,” Fields said of the trio of comebacks. “We’re fearless 1-15 … We have a certain fearlessness in our group.”
Now with one DI North loss, Thursday’s home contest against Carson becomes increasingly important for the Cougs, a team with league-title aspirations. No team has won the High Desert League the last four years with more than three losses.
“We did (miss an opportunity). We did. Especially at home,” Penney said. “You don’t win a league championship right now, but you can put yourself in a dog fight for one. It’s not going to easy.
“We’re going to have our work cut out for us as coaches (before Thursday) in getting their mindset right. That’s what it’s about, their mindset. I think that’s why we lost tonight. We lost a good mindset.”
Tipoff on Thursday night is at 7 p.m.