Girls basketball: Springfield optimistic about future

The Springfield Wildcats girls basketball team was 4-16 heading into the final two regular season games.

First-year coach Darris Gattis envisions that record flipping in the coming seasons.

“I think we should be 20-0 at this point. I tell the girls that every time we have a game that we can win,” Gattis said. “Honestly, I believe it. When we play Springboro (in the sectional tournament) I’m telling them we can win. I believe it and so does our staff.”

No. 18 Springfield plays third-seeded Springboro (15-3) in the first round of the Division I sectional tournament 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13 at Troy High School.

“We knew we’d have a tough draw but we had a fairly productive season despite our record,” Gattis said. “They’ve grown and gotten a lot better from last year. We feel we’ll be real competitive against Springboro. They’re the No. 3 seed and we tip our hat to them, but they’re going to have to play us. We’re not going to back down.”

Optimism comes from a varsity roster with 10 underclassmen among the 15 players. The top two leading scorers are junior guard T’Erra Eubanks and sophomore forward Carlyssa Byrd. Sophomore forward Julona Martin is the team’s leading rebounder.

At the lower levels, the seventh grade team finished the regular season 16-0.

“We’re real proud of both the seventh and eighth grade,” Gattis said. “We think we’re turning this program around pretty quick. We’re excited about the future. We think we’ll be able to compete with the Centervilles, Waynes and Beavercreeks real soon.

“Young, fast, growing and learning. That’s who we are. Hopefully we’ll give 100 percent for Springfield High School and the city.”

OHC up for grabs: West Liberty-Salem can clinch a share of the Ohio Heritage Conference title with a win against Greeneview tonight.

West Liberty-Salem (16-3 overall) is 11-1 in the conference. Greeneview (16-4) is a game back at 10-2.

Both teams have one league game remaining after tonight. West Liberty-Salem plays Southeastern (13-7) and Greeneview plays Triad (5-13) on Saturday.

“It ought to be a good test for us getting ready for the tournament,” said West Liberty-Salem coach Dennis McIntosh, whose team also plays Kenton Ridge on Monday in a make-up game.

“It was a matter of how the new kids were going to fit in and they’ve done a pretty good job so far.”

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