Twenty-four hours after a disappointing performance in a conference loss to Wayne, the Springfield High School boys basketball team needed a short memory.
“We came out with a sense of urgency knowing that last night in front of a lot of fans we didn’t play as well as we can,” Wildcats senior guard Ryan Minney said. “Tonight we were just going to come out and show everybody that we’re still here.”
The Wildcats were strong on defense in the first half, got key bench contributions and held on despite sputtering in the fourth quarter Saturday to defeat Meadowdale 55-45.
“They responded amazingly,” Springfield coach Isiah Carson said. “Even though we stunk it up last night, we came back and were focused. It showed the first half. Defensively we were awesome.”
Springfield (9-7) showed its defense early to lead 15-4 after the first quarter with the help of backup senior guard John Carson scoring the last five points of the quarter. A fast-break dunk by backup junior forward Derick Yarbrough pushed the lead to 21-6 on the way to a 28-13 halftime lead.
“We came out flat, and Springfield came out and executed well,” Meadowdale coach Felix Turner said. “What was uncharacteristic tonight was our lack of toughness. Springfield came out much more aggressive, and they were tougher than our kids.”
The fourth quarter was different. The Lions (8-5) trailed 46-28 after three, but used a press and double-teams to get on the cusp of a run that didn’t materialize. Turner said his team played harder and smarter in the second half, but the deficit was too big.
Minney, who led the Wildcats with 13 points despite 6-of-13 free-throw shooting, was happy to win but not with the recurring fourth-quarter struggles.
“That gets better with everybody being confident, knowing that we have to end the game,” Minney said. “As long as we have no let-ups we can finish out every game fine.”
The Wildcats committed five turnovers in the quarter and made only 5 of 10 free throws.
“We’ve got to get better at that, and it’s our main guys that’s doing it,” Carson said. “We’ll do a better job at that sooner or later because those guys are more than capable.”