After just three DI North contests, the Spanish Springs boys find themselves in a hole.
The Cougars fell to 3-3, 1-2 in the DI North with a 60-49 home loss to Carson on Thursday night. The Senators, who won the Sierra League last season, improved to 3-3, 1-0, in the battle of last year’s league champs.
“Winning is hard. Not everybody can do it,” Spanish Springs coach Kyle Penney said. “Again, we had our chances. We’re not there yet.”
The Cougs trailed by as much as 13 late in the third before cutting the gap to one, 45-44, with 5:13 left in the contest after a pair of Justus Eaglesmith free throws. Eaglesmith finished with 11
Carson turned the ball over inbounding the ball after the basket and the ball was kicked to a wide open Marcus Loadholt behind the arc for three. His shot just lipped out.
Both squads scored on their ensuing possession to leave the difference at one but the Senators scored 11 of the next 12 points to take an insurmountable 56-47 lead before melting the final minute off the clock.
“We battled right back and had the chance to take the lead on a hustle play and give Marcus the three. We couldn’t ask for any more than that,” Penney said.
Loadholt was held to a quiet (by his standards) 18 points. He was shadowed all night by Asa Carter, who led the Senators with 15 on the offensive end.
“There’s no secret that Marcus is one of the better players in the league. You can’t leave him open or he’s going to knock it down,” Carson coach Carlos Mendeguia said. “Asa, in my opinion, is one of the better athletes in Northern Nevada. So it was a good matchup.”
Loadholt and Eaglesmith were the only Cougs to reach double figures. Jalen Townsell finished with nine.
The first half was all Carson with the exception of a personal 7-0 run from Loadholt at the start of the second quarter. His burst turned a 14-11 first-quarter hole into an 18-14 advantage—the Cougs’ only lead of the night.
Carson rebuttaled with a 10-0 run to regain control. Kyle Krebs hit a pair of triples in the run.
The two squads proceeded to trade buckets until Carter went on a personal 7-0 to grow the lead to 33-22.
Josh Prizina put back a miss in the final seconds to leave the Cougs down 33-24 at the break.
The Senators scored nine of the first 11 points to start the game with a commanding 9-2 lead before the hosts whittled the gap to three, 14-11, after the first eight minutes.
“That (9-2 start) was big because it carried us through the whole game, it set the tone,” Mendeguia said.
For Spanish Springs, the loss put a cap on tough three-day stretch that included a 71-67 home loss to Bishop Manogue. The Cougs host nationally ranked Moreau Catholic (Calif.) on Friday at 7 p.m. before hopping back into DI North play at Damonte Ranch on Dec. 18.
The leash is now short with two DI North losses. No team in the last four years has won the High Desert League with more than three losses.
“I know we’re going to be okay … I just hope I’m not saying that in the fourth week of January,” Penney said. “The bottom line is this, no one is going to remember Dec. 10 when it’s Feb. 14 (playoffs).”