Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 | 7:08 p.m.
Ray Brewer and Case Keefer briefly discuss the upcoming state basketball tournaments in Reno.
RENO — Canyon Springs High basketball coach Freddie Banks had an optimistic goal at the beginning of the season: Finish with a winning record.
His team returned just two regular contributors from last season, meaning positions were up for grabs and expectations weren’t too high.
The Pioneers, using that logic, had a successful season, Banks said. They won the Northeast League, Sunrise Region championship and lost just three games.
The third loss, though, was unexpected. And heartbreaking.
Canyon Springs was defeated today 64-58 by Bishop Manogue of Reno in the state semifinals, unable to overcome eight missed free throws and 17 turnovers. It was their lowest scoring output of the season — more than 30 points below their average.
“I didn’t expect this type of team,” Banks said. “I just thought we’d be .500. ... I am proud of our kids right now, very proud of them. The thing know is we have to build (for next season).”
Canyon Springs trailed by eight points late in the second quarter but used a 10-2 scoring run to tie the game at halftime. Kevin Lagardy, who usually leads the Pioneers in points, hit his lone 3-pointer in the outburst and finished with just nine points.
In a sign of Canyon Springs’ offensive woes, that was its only 3-pointer of the game.
Many expected Canyon Springs, whose players were quicker and bigger, to pull away in the second half. But Bishop Manogue stuck to its game plan, hit its outside shots and grabbed many timely offensive rebounds.
Canyon Springs, meanwhile, couldn’t find its rhythm.
Alexander Spaight, who scored a team-best 20 points, created many opportunities near the basket to keep the Pioneers close. Melvin Soares added 19 points.
However, Canyon Springs couldn’t find its touch from the outside, and many shots were airballs. The Pioneers trimmed the deficit to four points with less than a minute to play and could have made it a one-possession game but missed two free throws.
“It just didn’t work out tonight,” Banks said.