Defense powers Springfield to another high-profile win

Springfield junior Leonard Taylor scored 18 points Saturday in the Wildcats’ win over Columbus Northland. FILE PHOTO

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Springfield junior Leonard Taylor scored 18 points Saturday in the Wildcats’ win over Columbus Northland. FILE PHOTO

One night after a signature win, the Springfield High School boys basketball team signed off on another high-profile victory, 75-56 at Columbus Northland.

Springfield, which never trailed in the non-conference contest, outscored Northland 21-10 in the third quarter to put the game out of reach. The Vikings (18-3) pulled to 38-31 before the Wildcats (17-2) responded with a 12-2 run.

“We did this as a team. Everybody played their part,” Springfield coach Isaiah Carson said. “It’s beautiful how our guys are comfortable in their roles right now. I love this team. I’ve said it from the start that this is a fun group to coach. A group of great kids. They play hard and they love each other on and off the court. We’re embracing it and just trying to make our city proud.”

Senior Danny Davis led Springfield with 22 points and junior Leonard Taylor added 18. Senior Mike McKay added 10 points. Sophomore RaHeim Moss grabbed 10 rebounds for the Wildcats.

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“I have to give Leonard Taylor credit in the second half,” Carson said. “He started attacking the rim and finishing. He played extremely well in the second half.”

Springfield led 18-8 after the first quarter and 36-29 at the half. The Wildcats clamped down on defense in the second half, including that game-turning third quarter.

“We’re defending at a high level,” Carson said. “When you can defend and lock teams down you have a shot. Offensively we have weapons around us with Danny Davis, Mike McKay and Leonard Taylor. The scoring is going to come. We’re locking teams down and that’s where our success has been.”

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Springfield has held its last seven opponents to 56 points or less and is outscoring opponents 67-55 on average.

“We got stops. We handled their pressure,” Carson said. “Danny did a great job of trying not to dribble through their defense and keeping his head up. (Sophomore JaJuan) Rodgers did a bulk of handling that pressure as well tonight. He was seeing guys up the floor. There was a lot of extra passing tonight. We didn’t settle for a good shot. We settled for great shots. That was the difference tonight.”

The win comes a night after Springfield beat Wayne 56-54 to clinch the Greater Western Ohio Conference National East Division title, its first since 2005. The sectional tournament draw is today.

“That was one of the goals at the beginning of the year — to win the league and get that first-place seed. So far so good. We’re looking to keep it going. We’re not satisfied,” Carson said. “We’re just going to keep playing, stay humble and keep doing what we’re doing — continue to defend with everything we’ve got and continue to play unselfish.”

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