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Cougars take out Tigers

Dave Price
dprice@recourdcourier.com

MINDEN — Not surprisingly, the rematch was no 27-point blowout.

Instead, Spanish Springs atoned for a season-opening loss Court by coming back to deal Douglas a 43-40 defeat Tuesday night at Randy Green in the first round of the Division I Northern Region Tournament.

Hannah Woytek scored 22 points as Spanish Springs (19-7) rallied to knock off Douglas (19-9) in a defensive struggle.

This was much different from the Dec. 4 season opener when Douglas won 47-20 on the same court. Then again, coach Werner Christen knew the rematch would be a difficult challenge.

“I knew it would be,” Christen said. “We told the kids that before the game. But we also told them that if we played well, we would win. And we did not play well.”

Then again, the Cougars have come a long way since the start of the season, according to first-year coach Art Cardenas.

“That’s so long ago, we’ve already forgotten that game,” Cardenas said. “We’ve made a few adjustments.”

And now, the Cougars are riding a five-game win streak into the tournament semifinals against Reno Thursday on their home court.

“We got better,” Woytek said. “We started to click and we bought into the new offense and defense. This was a big win tonight … a very emotional game.”

Woytek ignited a run early in the fourth quarter when the Cougars erased a 31-26 deficit. The senior guard knocked down a 3-pointer to tie the score at 31 and then connected on a 2-pointer from the left corner, both shots coming off assists from Mariah Vargas. Then Woytek dished to Katrina Prendergast for a layup as the Cougars scored seven points within a span of 27 seconds to take a 35-31 lead with 6:24 left to play.

The Tigers never led again, although they did tie the score at 39 when Jessie Jim took a pass from McKenna Kynet and buried a 3-pointer from the right wing with 2:35 remaining.

Katie McCullough came up with a takeaway on the defensive end to give Douglas a chance to regain the lead, however, they turned the ball over on a backcourt violation.

This one turned out to be critical, as Vargas threw a long pass downcourt to Woytek, who took the ball to the basket for a layup to put the Cougars on top 41-39 with 1:51 remaining. Vargas threaded a pass through the defense to Adrianna Pennington for a layup to account for the final 43-40 score.

Jim finished with a double-double for Douglas, as the senior guard scored 15 points (two 3-pointers) and pulled down 10 rebounds. Leonna Mortimer also had 9 points and 10 rebounds, while Kelly Sonnemann contributed 7 points.