Posted On: 12/9/17 10:02 AM
Springfield gutted out a 55-47 victory at home against Beavercreek last night, outscoring the Beavers 16-8 in the fourth quarter.
It was a battle of tempo, as Beavercreek slowed down Springfield for three and a half quarters. Despite having an early fourth quarter lead, Beavercreek panicked and threw multiple cross-court interceptions late, allowing the Wildcat athleticism and crowd to take over in the final three minutes.
Springfield now sits at 2-0 after their first win the in the Greater Western Ohio Conference and Beavercreek at 0-2.
There was much more that happened in this one, so let’s check out the five most important things we saw…
Springfield will be in the top tier of GWOC teams this season, but next year they could take a step up. They only played one senior considerable minutes, as they’re led by a dynamic group of juniors. Raheim Moss, a 6’4” guard, impressed us last night with his playmaking ability, speed, and defensive motor. Their 6’7” wing/forward Sam Towns didn’t produce much last night, but we saw flashes of excellence over the summer. Finally, 6’2” point guard Jay Rodgers didn’t even play last night after landing a teammate’s foot at practice yesterday. Rodgers will return to action shortly.
There’s more than Moss and Rodgers, too. In their sophomore class, 6’1” Larry Stephens and 6’3” Jordan Howard play away from the ball and look for quick scoring opportunities. Stephens was their second leading scorer, after an aggressive night shooting the basketball. A 5’9” sophomore Jeff Tolliver has a nice handle can pull-up in the mid-range for a jumper. David Sanford, a 5’11” junior, also started the game, providing yet another trusted ball-handler.
We expect Howard and Stephens to emerge from this group next season, as the two sophomores show the most upside as scorers.
When 6’6” senior forward Leonard Taylor, who led the game with 17 points, and Sam Towns are on the court together, most opponents will struggle to defend Springfield. Both Taylor and Towns can use their size around the basket or pull defenders out to the perimeter and attack from there. For a team like Beavercreek who has one player over 6’5”, Towns was able to pull him outside while Taylor controlled the glass. Taylor, a four-star football prospect, is especially versatile. He can shoot it from deep and uses that to his advantage with a sick hesitation move.
Beavercreek is likely disappointed that they fell apart late in the game, but there’s a lot to be proud of after last night. The sophomore class is one of the bright spots, as guards Chris Herbort and Yousef Saleh both had strong nights. They often substituted for each as the point guard throughout the game. Herbort is a 6’2” player is tough on defense, drawing a couple charges, and finishes strong around the basket. Saleh has a quick first step and finishes through traffic by hanging in the air. Taking care of the ball for 32 minutes is going to be crucial for them, however.
Jon Alessandro, a combo forward who has signed with West Liberty, acted as the primary ball-handler for stretches last night. Springfield looked to press most of the game and Alessandro dealt with the pressure. He can see over the defense and was strong with the ball, often putting his players into spots for easy scores. He also had a couple athletic finishes above the rim for Beavercreek, but wasn’t able to connect with his jumper throughout the game despite quality looks.