It was a preview of a first-round playoff game, and if Tuesday night's game is any indication, Carson High's stay in the playoffs will be brief.
Spanish Springs scored the final nine points of the game, and held Carson to just three points in the final six minutes to record a 52-35 win in a Division I crossover girls game at Morse Burley Gym.
Barring a major miracle, these teams will meet in Carson again on either Feb. 12 or 13, and based on last night the Cougars would be the favorite.
"I don't think it (the win) gives them an edge," Carson coach Nathan Tolbert said. "This team knows they can play better. This team is capable of a lot more.
"I think we laid down in the fourth quarter. I haven't seen that in a Carson team since I've been here... ever. We gave it away. I still have enough confidence in these girls that when we play them again we'll win the game."
Spanish Spring coach Christine Eckles was a bit cautious when talking about what this win meant toward future games.
"I think it does (give us an edge), but last year we beat them by 13 and then got beat in the playoffs," she said. "Mentally it was important to get the win and know that we can beat them. I thought we played very good defense tonight."
It was a 34-30 game with 1:22 left in the third quarter, but the Cougars scored nine of the next 14 points to lead 43-35 with 5:02 left.
Riley Holladay, who led the Cougars with 15 points, started the surge with a free throw, and following a Carson turnover, Lyndsey Anderson drained a shot in the key to make it 35-30 at the end of the quarter.
A putback by Maddi Saarem trimmed the lead to 37-32, but two free throws by Holladay, a bucket by Hannah Woytek and a runner by Holladay made it 43-34 with 5:47 left. Saarem made a free throw with 5:02 left, and that would be the last time the lights on the Carson side of the board would change.
Carson would turn the ball over four times and go 0-for-4 from the floor in that stretch. Not the kind of numbers you want if you are trying to make a comeback.
Carson started the game horribly, giving up a 12-1 run in the final 5:18 of the first quarter to fall behind 16-7 after one quarter. The Senators fell asleep on defense several times, allowing Spanish Springs to sneak a defender downcourt.
"We've struggled with that the whole season," Tolbert said.
The Senators came back with a vengeance in the second quarter, trimming the Cougars' lead to 26-24 at the half.
Carson opened the period with an 11-2 run. Savannah Smith (11 points) had a basket and free throw and Madison Preston knocked down a 3-pointer to lead the way.
It remained a two-point game through the first four minutes of the third quarter, but then Holladay scored five of her 15 points in the final 2:15 to make it 37-30 after three. She proved to be too much for Carson to handle with her ability to get to the basket.
"We had kids that were capable of guarding her," Tolbert said. "Again, it was a mental thing. We played off of her too much."
"Riley has been playing extremely well," Eckles sad. "She puts the game on her shoulders."
CARSON 31, SPANISH SPRINGS 30
Teresa Boehmer hit the game-winner for Carson, her only two points of the night, against Spanish Springs on Tuesday.
Michelle Perry led the team with 18 points. Carson coach Mike Peterson said switching out of zone into man defense keyed the Senators.
CARSON 38, SPANISH SPRINGS 11
Melissa Glanzman scored 13 points, added four steals and three assists, in limited time to lead Carson to a 38-11 win over Spanish Springs.
Bailey Allen added eight points, 11 steals and two assists. Andrew Maffei added 10 steals and four assists. Julia Ruedy led Carson with seven rebounds.