Third quarter run helps Spring Creek to title
Quickness, defensive pressure, and the ability to sustain good runs have been keys for the undefeated Spring Creek High School girls basketball team so far this season.
The Spartans (7-0) capitalized in each of those areas – particularly during a game-breaking third quarter – on their way to a 56-46 victory against Carson in the championship game of the 24th annual Carson Girls Basketball Tournament Saturday afternoon.
Spring Creek scored 14 unanswered points during a span of 3 minutes and 40 seconds late in the third period to turn a two-point struggle into a double digit lead at Morse Burley Gymnasium.
“We have some quick girls so we like to pressure the other team and try to get them going up and down the court. That’s when we’re able to put runs together,” Spring Creek coach Andy Morris said.
The Spartans are led by seven returnees from a team that in February reached the 3A state tournament, where they led much of the way in the semifinals before losing 53-45 in overtime to eventual champion Pahrump Valley. Already this season, they have beaten Northern 4A opponents Douglas, Elko, Fallon and now Carson.
“They’re a very good team, well coached and well disciplined,” Carson coach Alana Williams said of the Spartans. “I think they’ve shown they could play in our league right now.”
Carson stayed close for the better part of three quarters behind 6-foot-2 junior post Nicole Scott. Scott led all scorers with 26 points to go with 12 rebounds and seven blocked shots.
“The big girl (Scott) hurt us,” Morris said. “She’s really tough when she gets the ball down low, and she can step away to take the 10-, 12-footer with a nice touch.”
Scott scored all eight of Carson’s points in a 10-8 first quarter. Scott added another six points in the second period as the Senators went to the locker room trailing by a 28-24 score. And they were only down 32-30 after Scott scored on a putback with 4:31 left in the third.
That’s when the game turned.
First, sophomore point guard Johnna Ward drove for a layup to give Spring Creek a 34-30 lead. Then, 5-11 senior forward Andrea Hoff went to the bench after drawing her fourth personal foul.
“That hurt when Andrea got in foul trouble,” Williams said of Hoff, who finished with four points and 11 rebounds. “Having her out of the game hurts because she does a lot for us.”
Within a span of 45 seconds, Tai Marie Jaques scored on a third shot, Nicole Hawkins sank a jumper, Cisca Moore stole the ball on the press and fed Natalie Hawkins for a three-pointer, then Ward buried another three ball to extend Spring Creek’s lead to 44-30 with 1:50 left in the period. Ward converted another steal into a pair of free throws to complete the 14-0 run.
Hawkins finished with 14 points while Ward scored nine to lead a balanced Spring Creek attack. Moore, who was named as the tournament MVP, contributed six points, four steals, four rebounds and three assists. Jaques, a 6-foot sophomore post player, also had seven points and 11 rebounds.
“We have a lot of experience and a group of girls that play well together. Nobody cares who scores the points, they just want to be on the winning end of things,” said Morris, whose team is scheduled to play two-time defending 4A state champion Centennial and Los Angeles Fairfax later this month at the Centennial tournament in Las Vegas later this month.
Rosella Nunez scored six points, three rebounds and two assists while Kelli Weyrick contributed seven assists for the Senators. Carson shot 12-for-12 from the free throw line, but missed six layups and turned the ball over 19 times as opposed to Spring Creek’s nine turnovers.
Despite the final score, Williams said she likes what she’s seen on the court from the Senators (2-3).
“They played hard,” she said. “I’m not too disappointed. They’re working together and working the ball to get good looks at the basket. They’re rapidly improving, getting better from day to day, and that’s all I can ask as a coach.”
FALLON 79, ELKO 47
Liz Lewis poured in 32 points, 19 of which came in the first half as the Greenwave surged to a 38-24 lead in the tournament’s third-place game.
Katrina Olivo also scored 14 points and Michelle Beach 13 for Fallon. Kendra Hernandez scored 11 and Lorena Torres 10 to lead Elko.
LOWRY 44, FERNLEY 31
Elisa Leader scored 10 of her game-high 17 points in the second quarter to help spark a 17-4 run that put the Buckaroos in the driver’s seat of the consolation championship game in a matchup between Northern 3A rivals who advanced to the 3A state tournament last season.
Lowry led 9-8 after one quarter and 26-12 at halftime.
Kylie Owsley also scored 12 points for Lowry, while Becky Murphy scored nine to lead Fernley.
PYRAMID LAKE 47, CARSON JV 45, OT
Brittany DeRosa and Sarah Metcalf scored nine points each and Abby Rankl eight as the JV Senators took Pyramid Lake into overtime before falling.
Pyramid Lake, a qualifier for the 1A state tournament last season, led 32-25 after three quarters only to see Carson rally back with a 16-9 run through the fourth quarter to force overtime.
Ashley Henry led all scorers with 15 points for the Lakers.
Notes: Scott and Hoff were named to the all-tournament team for Carson, as was Rankl for the JV Senators. Rounding out the all-tournament team were Moore and Ward for Spring Creek, Lewis and Olivo for Fallon, Torres for Elko, Henry of Pyramid Lake and Fernley’s April Shaw. Ward was a repeat all-tournament pick. Carson defeated Lowry 54-40 to win its own tournament last year, and Lowry finished as the 3A state tournament runner-up.
Contact Dave Price at email@example.com or call 881-1220.