For the second time this season, the game between Spanish Springs and Douglas came down to the final seconds. This time it was the Cougars who would come away with the win, beating Douglas 46-41 to advance to the semifinals of the Northern Division I playoffs.
“It’s a grind,” Spanish Springs coach Kyle Penney said. “Both teams are good defensively and every possession matters. A game like that, you’ve got to be tough enough to grind out possessions and luckily we did.”
After trailing for the vast majority of the game, Douglas had finally whittled the lead down to one possession with a chance to tie the game. But coming out of a timeout with 6seconds to play, the Tigers were called for traveling off of the inbounds pass that, for all intents and purposes, put an end to an otherwise great game.
“It’s a shame that a ref would call that, but that’s how the cookie crumbles sometimes.” Douglas coach Corey Thacker said.
After the turnover, Spanish Springs’ sophomore Marcus Loadholt was sent to the line where he coolly sank his team high 19th and 20th points to put the game out of reach.
Loadholt was joined by fellow sophomores Josh Prizina and Bryce Delong who combined to score 41 of the team’s 46 points.
“We’re not intimidated by any competition,” Loadholt said. “We’ve been playing together since seventh grade. We just know what we’re doing, we’re just not scared by anything.”
To start the game, both teams were sluggish offensively with only 14 points scored in the first quarter. Spanish Springs struggled to connect from the field while Douglas struggled just to get a shot up, turning the ball over seven times. Despite the sloppy start, the Tigers ended the quarter on a 6-0 run to take a four-point lead into the second.
In the second quarter the Cougars caught fire from beyond the arc hitting three straight during a 13-2 run to take a 24-16 lead into halftime.
Coming out of the locker room, Douglas got right back into the game by way of an 8-0 run while Spanish Springs didn’t find its first point until the 4:10 mark of the third quarter. After finally getting its first points of the half the Cougars fell into a nice offensive rhythm with Loadholt and Prizina each scoring five points before the quarter ended.
Douglas would continue to stick around, hovering between a 2-4-point deficit for most of the fourth quarter, but eventually time ran out on the Tigers and their season.
The Cougars will now play Galena in Carson City on Thursday at 7:15. Spanish Springs knocked off Galena 53-41 during the regular season.
“They’re really good,” Penney said. “I mean really good. So, we’re going to have our hands full. We survived and advanced today. We’re going to enjoy the moment, but we’re going to come to work and be ready to go Thursday.”
SPANISH SPRINGS 46, DOUGLAS 41
SOPHOMORE STANDOUTS: The combination of sophomores Bryce Delong, Marcus Loadholt and Josh Prizina combined to score 89 percent of Spanish Springs’ points.
KEY STRETCH: After scoring just five points in the first quarter, Spanish Springs went on a 9-0 run after back-to-back Loadholt 3’s followed by a Prizina three-ball.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Marcus Loadholt led all scorers with 20 points, including two late free throws to put the game on ice.