Springfield isn’t into the grind of Greater Western Ohio Conference play yet, but through four games the Wildcats are off to the kind of start that the rest of the Central Division is noticing.
“We have a different perspective on basketball now,” said sophomore guard Henry Alexander. “We just want to go out there hungry and desperate — that’s our motto. We just want to win.”
The Wildcats followed that motto Friday night against Fairborn and rolled to a 76-59 victory with hot shooting, rebounding and strong defense.
The Wildcats (4-0) opened up a nine-point lead late in the first quarter when Alexander made two 3-pointers to key a 12-4 run. Fairborn (1-2) couldn’t slow down the Wildcats’ momentum and fell behind 41-26 at halftime. Springfield shot 55.5 percent from the field in the first half, including 4-of-7 on 3-pointers, and shot 50 percent for the game.
“I encourage my guys to shoot it if they’re open, but we want to attack inside out first,” said third-year Wildcats coach Isiah Carson. “Then the outside shot opens up. We’ve got good shooters — we just encourage inside out.”
Alexander came off the bench to score 19 points, senior Ryan Minney scored 17 and sophomore Dae’Shawn Jackson scored 11. Alexander made four 3-pointers and showed more than NBA range.
“If I can make a shot, I’m going to shoot it,” Alexander said. “I don’t think they’re that deep.”
Carson has eight players with varsity experience in contrast to one or two players with varsity experience his first two years. The Wildcats were 6-15 last year.
As well as the Wildcats shot, Carson was just as pleased with their man-to-man defense led by 6-foot-6 Sean Burroughs’ six blocked shots and seven rebounds.
“We’re trying to make Sean become the best defensive player, not just the best shot blocker,” Carson said.
Fairborn, which trailed by as many as 25 in the second half, is coming off a 14-8 season. After an opening win over Bellbrook, the Skyhawks lost to Centerville despite playing a good first half, according to fifth-year coach Nathan Chivington. He hasn’t been pleased with the three halves since.
“They were definitely hitting, and we weren’t making wise decisions offensively,” Chivington said. “We’ve just got to do a better job locking down defensively. I don’t think the score reflects the capabilities of our team.”