Not a lot was going right for Spanish Springs. The Cougars were on a three-game losing skid and in a five-point hole against Reed at halftime.
Until the second half, at least. Behind a rowdy home crowd, Spanish Springs outscored the Raiders by 14 points after intermission to lock up the High Desert League's No. 2 seed -- and an extra home game on Tuesday against Carson -- in a 57-48 victory over their rival.
"It's tremendous," Cougars senior T.J. McCauley said. "I don't think we're a very good road team. We don't have a lot of intensity on the road. But when we have our home fans and they're cheering us on, it just means a lot more."
Spanish Springs second-half turnaround was keyed by seniors McCauley and Austin Damoth. The outgoing duo scored 19 and 18 points, respectively.
The seniors' scoring outburst, along with lockdown defense after intermission, turned the heat up on Reed.
"We started to rush a little," Raiders head coach Dustin Hall said. "In the first half, guys were patient and shared the ball. We kind of got away from that in the second half."
The Cougars' stifling defense created opportunities for Spanish Springs, which scored 37 points after intermission.
"Defensively, we did a better job at containing the ball and forcing tougher shots in the penetration," Spanish Springs coach Kyle Penney said. "Our rotation in the backside was good with the rebounding and we were in a spot where our defense led to some offense for us. We didn't have to worry about execution to an extent because our defense created it for us."
Reed wound up in the No. 3 position out of the High Desert and will travel to Galena for the first round of the regional playoffs Tuesday. A sense of urgency is starting to sink in for the Raiders.
"You can definitely see it in the seniors -- I wouldn't call it's desperation, but they realize the end is near," Hall said. "All 14 of our guys and coaches have to be tough. Each possession is going to be that much more important."
Penny hopes the momentum from the come-from-behind victory fuels Spanish Springs in the postseason.
"Every team wants to go into the playoffs with confidence," he said. "We just beat a very good, well-coached Reed team."