Other than the stage and meaning of the game, there isn't much difference between the first week of December and the last week of February when it comes to the Spring Creek-Faith Lutheran girls basketball matchup.
Faith Lutheran won the first meeting and the Crusaders made it a season sweep with Saturday night's 49-40 victory in the Division I-A state championship game at the Orleans Arena.
The Crusaders' Taylor Hammer and Samantha Leonard combined for 39 points as Faith Lutheran won its first state title in program history and kept the Spartans from their sixth in eight years.
"Things just didn't go our way and hat's off to Faith Lutheran," said Spring Creek coach Holly Miller, who was in search of her second title in her second season at the helm. "They made clutch free throws and played hard. But I'm so proud of my team."
The Crusaders were 13-for-19 from the free-throw line in the fourth, when they outscored Spring Creek, 21-9.
Hammer scored nine of her 20 in the final period and finished with 12 rebounds and six blocks.
But the 6-foot senior's impressive stat line wasn't the difference, Miller said.
Leonard's 19 points, including 9-of-13 from the line, put Faith Lutheran over the top.
"Whoever No. 14 (Leonard) is, she stepped up and played well," Miller said. "She was the difference in that game."
Kira Floge was the only Spartans player to reach double-figure scoring with 10 points, as Spring Creek found it difficult to score against Faith Lutheran's zone defense in both the second and fourth quarters.
"Normally, we do a good job against either a man or zone, getting points on the scoreboard," Miller said. "But we really struggled in that first half getting a basketball to fall."
Madi Estes added eight points for the Spartans, and Maddy Mershel corralled 10 rebounds.