The Spanish Springs boys basketball team captured its first regional basketball title in program history last week after winning three games in four days, all by double figures. The Cougs beat Bishop Manogue 68-56 in the championship game on Saturday after knocking off Douglas 69-52 in the quarterfinals last Wednesday and ousting Galena 54-40 on Friday.
“For us to win the championship, it just feels great,” said Spanish Springs coach Kyle Penney. “We have worked really hard and have made a lot of sacrifices, so to be able to win the region is certainly rewarding. Our players are deserving, they are great kids, respectful, humble and extremely hard working.”
Spanish Springs did what they did best in the tourney and what they did all season long – share the ball and score. Jalen Townsell led the way with 23 points, Leo Grass had 14 and Dante Craig finished with 11 in the quarterfinals against Douglas. DJ Panfili had a game-high 18 points and Townsell had 15 in the win over Galena. Four Cougs reached double figures in the title game led by 21 from Panfili and 14 by Grass. Mason Whitaker scored 13 while Craig finished with 11.
Despite every game in the boys bracket being decided by double digits, the energy in the host gym of Spanish Springs was electric all week as teams scratched and clawed for a shot to make it to state.
“The tournament was great, it was the type of atmosphere all players want to be in and the games were just as exciting,” Penney said. “I think overall it was just a great brand of basketball by all the teams involved.”
The Cougs are moving on to the state tournament this week in Reno and if they want to advance they’ll have to knock off the six-time defending state champion Bishop Gorman Gaels from Las Vegas. The two schools meet tomorrow at 8:15 p.m. at Lawlor Events Center with the winner playing Friday at 8:10 p.m. in the state title game. Canyon Springs and Bishop Manogue round out the rest of the four-team bracket.
Penney spoke of his team being ready for the moment in regionals and knows they’ll be ready to give it their all again when the ball is tipped tomorrow night.
“The state tournament is going to be a great experience and another great opportunity for us,” he said. “We are excited to be representing our families, our high school, our community and Northern Nevada.”