Cougars assert themselves as team to beat
RENO – Spanish Springs coach Kyle Penney wants his Cougars to be the hunters rather than the hunted.
Well, Friday night’s controlling 68-61 win at Bishop Manogue may complicate that request.
The victory in the showdown of unbeaten (in regional play) teams now undoubtedly makes the Cougars the team to beat in the 4A North. Spanish Springs completed a clean run through the Sierra League, improving to 11-4, 6-0. The Miners dipped to 10-6, 5-1.
“It’s a big game,” Penney said. “It’s 5-0 versus 5-0. They (Miners) are very good and it’s on the road … If you want to be good in league, you’re going to get in battles, get in fights, you have to play in them. We obviously had one tonight.”
Spanish Springs trailed 8-6 early. It didn’t face another deficit the rest of the night. Josh Prizina, who missed the Cougars’ non-league loss to the Miners in December, put back a miss to tie the game and the Cougs were in control the rest of the way.
The lead bounced between 13 and three the rest of the way, despite early foul trouble.
“It was a scary situation early in the game for sure,” Penney said of the first-half foul issues. “I’m proud of the guys off the bench. They were ready to play.”
Player of the Year candidate Marcus Loadholt was held to seven points in the first three quarters, before going on a personal 5-0 run to start the fourth, growing the lead to 54-43.
Loadholt led the way for Spanish Springs, scoring eight of his team-high 15 points in the fourth. Prizina had 14 and both Jalen Townsell and Bryce DeLong chipped in 11.
The Miners missed countless shots from behind the arc late in the fourth and got no closer than 65-61 with 27 seconds left.
Perimeter shooting provided a massive disparity in favor of the Cougs, who were plus 18 from behind the arc.
“(That is) huge,” Penney said. “Because they shoot the three really well. Talk about scouting report and our last two days of practice. Our kids did a good job and game planning and guarding them how we want them to guard. Hopefully, we were a cause for the misses they had … They had some key shots that didn’t go in.”
Aidan Cantwell led the Miners with a game-high 24 points. Brevon Bansuelo had 11.
Spanish Springs now jumps into High Desert League play two games clear of second-place Reno. The Cougars host McQueen (6-6, 3-3) on Tuesday night.
“We have to worry about Tuesday,” Penney said. “6-0, 0-6, it doesn’t matter. I don’t care who you are.”
Raiders’ upset bid comes up short
Reed put in a strong bid for the upset of the year on Friday night.
The Raiders went to regional title contender Galena and found themselves in a 48-48 tie with 2:19 remaining. A late opportunity to tie, or potentially take the lead, was spoiled by a three-second call and the Grizzlies escaped, 56-50.
Reed stumbled to 3-11, 2-4 while Galena improved to 13-3, 5-1 three days after escaping Reno, 51-48.
High Desert League play begins on Tuesday. Reed will host North Valleys (8-8, 1-5).
4A North scoreboard
Spanish Springs 68, Bishop Manogue 61
Reno 63, Douglas 58
Galena 56, Reed 56
Hug 61, Damonte Ranch 50
Carson 68, McQueen 46
North Valleys 75, Wooster 49
Spanish Springs swatted at Bishop Manogue
RENO – Spanish Springs fourth-year coach Art Cardenas was not ambiguous in his postgame thoughts after Friday night’s 77-31 loss at Bishop Manogue in a battle of unbeatens.
“We have a lot of work to do,” he said.
Entering the contest against the two-time defending regional champs, who improved to 11-2, 6-0, he wanted to see his team compete, if anything. There were stretches he didn’t see that.
The Cougars (11-5, 5-1) gave up a 14-1 run out of the locker room that pushed the distance beyond the 35 points necessary to enact the running clock mercy rule.
“I told the girls to make sure they competed,” Cardenas said. “If they got the win, they earned it, but we have to be tougher mentally. We face a little adversity and we start hanging our heads. I keep telling them keep their heads up, keep working. They did towards the end.”
Kierra Johnson led the Cougs with eight points. Anhelica Shanrock had five and nobody else in purple had more than three.
Manogue’s Kenna Holt led all scorers with 23 points. She scored 13 points in the initial quarter as the hosts jumped out to a 25-12 lead. The gap swelled to 49-20 at the half, before getting out of hand in the third.
Kenna’s senior sister, Malia, finished with 15 points and Katie Turner, the defending Nevada Gatorade Player of the Year, poured in 14.
“They’re physical. They’re aggressive,” Cardenas said of the Miners. “They’re passing is crisp. They execute. They’re just solid.”
Now done with the Sierra League portion of their schedule, the Cougs prepare for High Desert League play. They are tied with Reno, Reed and McQueen for first place at 5-1 in the 4A North.
Spanish Springs opens its HDL slate on Tuesday at home against the Lancers.
“I like the fact we’re 5-1,” Cardenas said. “We just have to make sure we take care of business.”
Raiders roll behind Hernandez’s 18
Reed improved to 10-2, 5-1 in the 4A North with a 66-42 win at Galena on Friday night.
The Grizzlies sunk to 5-8, 1-5.
Sophomore Vanessa was one of four Raiders to finish in double figures, leading the way with 18 points. Autumn Wadsworth had 14 and both Tori Baer and Taylor Johnson finished with 11.
Reed comes home on Tuesday night to play North Valleys.
4A North scoreboard
Bishop Manogue 77, Spanish Springs 31
Reed 66, Galena 42
McQueen 53, Carson 24
Reno 52, Wooster 18
North Valleys 48, Wooster 22
Damonte Ranch 55, Hug 16