Closing in on their best season since North and South merged in 2008, the Springfield boys basketball team plans to take coach Isiah Carson’s words to heart — and to the hardwood — with its biggest stretch of Greater Western Ohio Conference games looming.
“Just take your time, don’t rush anything, play smart,” Springfield junior guard Henry Alexander said. “He’s always told us just let the game come to you.”
That three of their next four games are on the road — starting with today’s showdown at Central Division leading Wayne — doesn’t concern the Wildcats. After overcoming several seasons of struggles they’re prepared to go where the games are for a shot at the GWOC title.
Springfield (11-2, 3-1 GWOC Central) handed Wayne (10-3, 4-1) a 65-62 loss on Dec. 13. After a home game with Northmont (6-8, 1-5) on Friday, it’s two more road games at Centerville (10-4, 4-1) on Jan. 28 and at Beavercreek (11-3, 4-2) on Jan. 31.
Beavercreek handed Springfield its GWOC loss 53-49 on Jan. 3.
“Same mentality, same plan as we’ve done all year. Just go out and play hard,” said Alexander, who leads Springfield with 12.8 points per game. “We all know what the goal is, just getting better.
“We’ve been expecting it, but it’s trying to make it come true instead of talking about it. We’ve all become more of a family. Just being there together, for whatever situation just being there for each other as a team and a family.”
This could be Springfield’s biggest season in six years. The Wildcats won 14 games in 2009-10 and 13 last season, including a GWOC Central-high four victories both years.
“The merger took awhile for everybody to get used to. The group, when I took over, had seen three coaches in what three years?” said Carson, now in his fourth season. “That’s tough for them as well. We have continuity going now, we have the program built the way we want it to be. Our kids are working hard and doing it the right way, not just on the court but off it too. Now they’re just hungry.”
Springfield’s top five scorers return next season in Alexander, freshman guard Danny Davis (11.9), junior guard Daeshawn Jackson (11.9), sophomore center Darius Harper (9.0) and junior guard Anthony Freeman (6.3). In addition, senior forward Andrew Colletti saw his first action on Jan. 14 scoring six points with nine rebounds in a win against Tecumseh.
“Dashawn Jackson, that’s my leader. That’s my general,” Carson said. “He’s been doing an awesome job. Leadership helps. We haven’t had that in the past. We have leadership with Jackson and Henry Alexander. They’re taking this team and guiding us in the right direction.
“Chemistry, that plays a big factor into it. Most of these guys on the roster are two- and three-year guys. Experience. These guys have been through the battles. We lost some really tough, close games last year. This year we won those tough games down the stretch. Most of my guys have played since they were freshman. They’re juniors now. They’re ready now.”