Five games remain in the regular season for the Springfield High School boys basketball team.
The postseason won’t last as long with another Jekyll and Hyde performance similar to Friday night’s 68-65 last-second loss to Fairmont (15-2). Springfield coach Isaiah Carson hopes that message sinks in for his Wildcats (11-6).
Fast breaks, stiffling defense and aggressive rebounding sparked Springfield to an 18-8 lead after one quarter and a 21-point lead late in the first half.
Fast triggers from 3-point range, stagnant defense and getting beaten on the boards let the game slip away.
“You can’t let up. I thought we were past that point,” Carson said soon after Fairmont’s Garrett Sexton knocked down the uncontested game-winning 3-pointer with five seconds left. “Obviously not. Sometimes there are going to be bumps in the road. I think we’ve made great strides of putting the pressure on people. Tonight was just a bump in the road.”
The next challenge comes at Wayne (15-3) on Tuesday. Springfield lost the first meeting 65-37 on Jan. 9 in a game ended early by a fight that included fans rushing the court. The only behavior Carson is concerned about is how the Wildcats bounce back from a difficult defeat.
“We’re going to be fine,” Carson said. “We’re not even worried about that situation. We’re going there to try and win a league game.”
Fairmont coach Blair Albright, for one, is glad to be done with Springfield this season. Well, save for a potential postseason meeting. Fairmont held off Springfield in the first meeting. They survived the second.
“They’re playing at an outstanding level,” Albright said. “I really felt like, and I told their coach, that incident that happened with Wayne was really going to galvanize their group. It was going to be certainly a difficult thing to encounter at the time, but it was going to unify them.
“Based on my scouting of them the last couple of games, it’s pretty clear they have come together and they are playing basketball at a very high level. I watched what they did to Roger Bacon (91-64 win), they beat Centerville (57-52). They’re certainly a very, very formidable team.”
Friday, Springfield forged its first-half lead with 14 offensive rebounds for 16 second-chance points. The Wildcats had four offensive rebounds in the second half for four second-chance points.
“We were undisciplined and that ended up getting us,” said Springfield sophomore Danny Davis, who led the Wildcats with 18 points and nine rebounds. “We should have kept it up in the second half but we didn’t. We’ll learn from it.”
Springfield has won nine of its last 12 games following a 2-3 start. The Wildcats have won seven of their last nine since the loss to Wayne.
“No pressure. Just going to play, do our best and see if we can get a win,” Davis said, emphasising the Wildcats needs to focus on that first-half team play heading into Tuesday’s game. “Wayne’s a very talented basketball team so we have to play our hearts out.”
Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.