Cougars’ opening run too much for Douglas |

Cougars’ opening run too much for Douglas

Thomas Ranson
Nevada News Group

SPARKS — By the time the offense could get going, it was too late.

The Spanish Springs girls basketball team took advantage of its full-court trap in the first half, scoring the game’s first 16 points in cruising to a 56-22 victory over Douglas on Tuesday in the opening round of the Northern 4A regional basketball tournament.

Douglas, which had only one senior, Taylynn Kizer, finished the season with a 13-11 overall record after earning the Sierra League’s No. 4 seed for the tournament. Spanish Springs, the No. 1 seed from the High Desert and defending regional champion, advanced to the semifinals to take on No. 3 McQueen, also from the High Desert, today with the winner going to next week’s state tournament.

Sophomores Soleil Cariaga and Riley Mello led the Tigers’ offense with each scoring eight points and draining a pair of 3-pointers. Spanish Springs senior Jada Townsell posted a game-high 20 points, including a trio of 3’s, all coming in the first half. Senior Mariah Barraza scored 13 points, including two 3-pointers.

The Cougars struck quickly, and often, to open the game, beginning with free throws from Barraza and Townsell. Applying the full-court trap, Spanish Springs created several turnovers in the backcourt, including a 10-second violation and Townsell steal that led to an uncontested layup to give the host a 7-0 lead with 6 minutes, 2 seconds to go in the opening period.

After a Douglas timeout, senior Autumn Wadsworth found Lauryn Dressler under the net and Townsell drained her first 3-pointer of the game to increase the lead to double-digits. Cariaga’s 3-pointer at the 1:53 mark stopped the Cougars’ 16-0 opening run but Townsell answered with another 3-pointer and Cariaga’s basket with 42 seconds left cut the deficit to 18. Townsell, though, scored the final four points of the quarter to give Spanish Springs a 27-5 lead.

Similar to the first quarter, the Cougars jumped on the Tigers with eight-straight points but Mello’s bucket halfway into the second quarter stopped the run. Mello scored on Douglas’ next two possessions, engaging in a 3-point shootout with Wadsworth and Barraza. The sophomore post drilled a 3 in front of the Cougars’ bench at the 4:12 mark before Wadsworth responded with a triple. Mello countered with another 3 on the wing before Barraza’s 3-pointer started a 12-0 quarter-ending run for the Cougars.