It had been a highly anticipated game and it lived up to the hype.
Spanish Springs and Bishop Manogue were undefeated in league play at 5-0, although the Miners beat the Cougars in the Wild West tournament in early December.
On Friday, the Cougars returned the favor, taking a 68-61 win at Manogue.
This time, the Cougars had Josh Prizina back. The Cougars 6-foot-5 forward had missed the first game between the teams with a sprained ankle.
Spanish Springs coach Kyle Penney said beating a good team on the road was a good test for his team.
“Manogue’s very good. It’s on the road. You’ve got a good challenge. If you want to be good in league and get into battles, you’ve got to play them,” Penney said. “We had one today.”
He said the Cougars are getting better with each game, but still have a lot to improve on.
“We weren’t really clean, by any means. We had chances to put them away, and we didn’t,” he said. “We’ve got to be the hunter, that’s our mentality.”
The Miners missed some shots that could have changed the flow of the game, and struggled getting offensive rebounds.
The Cougars got a balanced scoring attack. Marcus Loadholt had 15 points, Prizina had 14 and Bryce Delong and Jalen Townsell each added 11 as they improved to 6-0 in league, 11-4 overall.
“Just going into league, being unbeaten, it’s not a playoff game or anything, but just knowing we have the ability to beat a really good team like that is always good to know,” Loadholt said. “We can always get a lot better. … If we can get every game like that where every guy is stepping up and everybody’s hitting some buckets and we’re winning, then there’s no problem with it.”
It was the last crossover game in the Northern 4A of the season. Schools play all league games for the next five weeks, Spanish Springs starts by hosting McQueen in High Desert League play and Manogue hosts Douglas in the Sierra League, both on Tuesday.
Spanish Springs got the lead in the first quarter and never gave it up, although the Miners got close several times, including being down 46-43 late in the third quarter.
From there, the Cougars maintained at least a 5-point margin.
Aidan Cantwell led the Miners with 24 points and Brevon Bansuelo added 11 as they dropped to 5-1, 10-6.
“They’re a good basketball team. You can’t take anything away from them,” Manogue coach Moe Golshani said of the Cougars. “But, to our credit, we just didn’t hit any shots, or to our discredit. The ball doesn’t bounce your way all the time. We’re looking forward to seeing them in the playoffs.
Also Friday night, Galena got past Reed, 56-50 as Moses Wood and Dillon Voyles each had 17 points for the Grizzlies. Wood also had seven rebounds and four blocks and Voyles had three rebounds.
Carson beat McQueen, 68-46 as Tez Allen and Jayden DeJoseph each had 27 points for the Senators.
Reno beat Douglas, 63-58; North Valleys beat Wooster, 75-49 and Hug beat Damonte Ranch, 61-50, to improvbe to 3-3 in league, 8-8 overall.
Tuesday’s Games: Hug at Reno; McQueen at Spanish Springs; North Valleys at Reed; Douglas at Bishop Manogue; Galena at Carson; Damonte Ranch at Wooster.
Friday’s games: McQueen at Hug; North Valleys at Spanish Springs; Reed at Reno; Bishop Manogue at Carson; Douglas at Damonte Ranch; Wooster at Galena.