MINDEN – The last time the Cougars were in the postseason (2014), they opened with an upset road win as a three seed at second-seeded Douglas.
History repeated itself on Wednesday night.
Spanish Springs went to back to Minden and once again ended the Tigers season with a 60-50 quarterfinal victory. Calling it an “upset” may be a stretch though.
The Cougars improved to 18-9 with their second win of the season over the Tigers, who ended the year with an 11-15 overall record. Spanish Springs won the first meeting in December by 32 points.
“It’s a tough place to play,” said Spanish Springs coach Art Cardenas, whose first season was in 2014. “It’s not easy. The game wasn’t easy then, and it wasn’t easy tonight.”
Games, especially playoff games, are rarely won in the first couple minutes, but that appeared to be case on Wednesday night.
Anhelica Shanrock scored nine of her game-high 27 points in the opening minutes to help spot the Cougs an 11-0 lead. They were edged 50-49 the rest of the way.
“It (fast start) was big,” Cardenas said. “I didn’t want a slow start, especially on the road, especially in their house.
“(Shanrock) had a good night. We needed outside scoring. They sat in the zone, packed it in, they have length. That makes it tough for us, so we needed her scoring absolutely.”
The Tigers trapped defensively throughout the contest and after trailing 32-24 at the half, eventually got within 39-34 late in the third following Madi Smalley put back. Smalley was a problem all night for the Cougs. She finished with a team-high 21 points – eight on offensive rebounds and put backs.
Spanish Springs responded with a 10-1 run that spanned early into the fourth quarter, giving the guests a 49-35 advantage – the largest of the night – and effectively putting the game away.
“It (10-1 run) was big,” Cardenas said. “I keep telling the girls, ‘we have to get that ball out and run’ … sometimes we get careless and throw it away, but sometimes we got those layups and that’s more of our game.”
The lead temporarily ballooned to 16, at 59-43 following a Kalli Prendergast (eight points) bucket before the Tigers closed on a 7-1 run.
Serena Sanchez just missed out on double figures in the road win, finishing with nine points.
Freshman Taylynn Kizer scored 11 points for the Tigers.
In 2014, after winning at Douglas, Spanish Springs advanced to the regional semifinals where it played Reno.
Once again, the Cougs will play the Huskies for a spot in the regional title game. Reno (24-4) beat Galena 74-48 on Wednesday night for its 13th straight win.
Cardenas hopes history is done repeating itself.
Spanish Springs lost the 2014 semifinal, 54-27, and dropped the two regular-season games against Reno this year by a total of 60 points.
“(We have to) limit our turnovers,” Cardenas said. “We have to limit those, handle their pressure. (They’ve done) a great job pressuring our guards and taking us out of our offense.”
The regional semifinals will be held at Carson on Friday night. Tip is at 7:15 p.m.
Raiders roll into semis
Reed breezed into the regional semifinals on Wednesday night with a running-clock-shortened 89-37 home quarterfinal rout of Carson.
The Raiders (19-5) have now won seven of their last eight, while the Senators finished the year at 12-14.
Taylor Johnson led Reed with 27 points on seven triples – five in the Raiders’ 34-point third quarter. Freshman Autumn Wadsworth was right behind her, with 23 points. Serene Townsell-Williams added 17.
Bella Kordonowy led the Senators with 10 points.
The Raiders led 26-10 after the first quarter and 46-27 at the half, then broke it open in the third.
Two-time defending regional champion Bishop Manogue awaits Reed in the regional semifinals on Friday night in Carson. The Miners (23-2) won their 15th straight on Wednesday night, 70-44, over McQueen.
Reed went to Bishop Manogue in early December for the second game of the season and fell, 54-44. It is the two team’s lone meeting this year.
Tip is at 5:30 p.m. on Friday night.
4A North quarterfinal scores
Spanish Springs 60, Douglas 50
Reed 89, Carson 37
Reno 74, Galena 48
Bishop Manogue 70, McQueen 44
4A North semifinals (Friday night in Carson)
Reed-Bishop Manogue 5:30 p.m.
Spanish Springs-Reno 7:15 p.m.