The game lived up to the hype.
Mike Heydon scored 19 points and the Reno boys basketball team held off Spanish Springs, 61-56, Friday to take firm control of the High Desert League race.
Drew Rippingham added 13 points and Logan Shaw had 10 as the Huskies improved to 7-1 in league, 11-5 overall in front of a big crowd at Reno.
Marcus Loadholt led the Cougars with 17 points and Josh Prizina added 15 as the Cougars fell to 5-3.
Spanish Springs had a chance to tie the game at 57 with 8 seconds left, but Ryan Anderson missed the first of two free throws. Karn Goraya then sank two, followed by two more from Rippingham to help the Huskies hold on.
Reno coach Matt Ochs said the Huskies made some errors on their press break, which was his fault.
“We had guys trying to do too much. I told them in the locker room that I almost lost that game for us, but they won despite me,” Ochs said.
He said there is a long way to go still and the Huskies need to stay humble and keep improving.
Goraya was happy the Huskies held on for the win.
“We executed very well. Spanish Springs is a very good team. It could have gone either way,” Goraya said. “It gives us a big push. We’re very excited to get this W.”
Loadholt scored just before halftime as the Huskies took a 30-28 lead into the break.
Reno got its biggest lead at 42-34 with 2 minutes, 43 seconds left in the third quarter, but Spanish Springs quickly cut it to five after a 3-pointer by Loadholt, one of three 3s he made.
“Credit Reno, they didn’t make many mistakes,” Spanish Springs coach Kyle Penney said. “We couldn’t guard the ball. And we didn’t make some shots.”
The Cougars made 13-of-19 free throws while the Huskies made 17-of-21.
Reno had numerous offensive rebounds and putbacks for baskets.
“We stand and watch too much, and when we’re active we’re pretty good, when we stand and watch, we’re mediocre, as any team would be,” Penney said. “We didn’t play real well and we could have stolen one on the road.”
Penney is confident his team will continue to improve.
“The championship wasn’t won today and it wasn’t lost today,” he said.
In other games Friday, Reed beat Hug, 66-53; Dillon Voyles had 19 points as Galena beat Douglas, 59-40; Carson beat Wooster, 67-31, Manogue beat Damonte Ranch 72-57, McQueen beat North Valleys 89-56 and Elko beat Liberty in Las Vegas, 58-50.