The Tigers defeated Lisbon, 67-51, in the season opener.
By JOHN BUTERA
LISBON -- As many Springfield High basketball fans know, their coach, Grant Spaite, is a talented magician. Friday night, however, the Tiger mentor needed no sleight of hand as his team did it on their own, using a late rally to turn back Lisbon, 67-51, in the opening game for both teams.
Springfield broke open a close game midway through the fourth period, fashioning a 10-0 run to build a 13-point edge. Lisbon's Mark Judy, who took scoring honors with 23, had his team within three, 46-43, with a 3-pointer at the 6:28 mark, but the Blue Devils went 3:25 between scores while Springfield was finding the range.
The Tigers scored on four straight trips down the floor, staring with a 3-pointer by Jeremy Russell. Three other different players scored in the rally, one on an offensive rebound and the other two following Lisbon turnovers. For good measure David McClearn added free throws at 3:20 to put make it 56-43.
"They say the toughest win is always the first one," said Spaite, "and for us to come out on the road and win against the team they say is favored to win their league -- that's pretty big for us."
Blue Devils controlled first half
Judy keyed an early Lisbon rally as the Blue Devils took advantage of a Tiger dry spell to go on an 11-0 uprising late in the second period. Judy had six of the points as the Blue Devils went ahead 27-16 at the 1:41 mark. Lisbon was up by 10 when Caleb Crown connected with 1:04 remaining before Springfield scored the last five points of the half, cutting the margin to 27-22 at the intermission.
Lisbon coach Matt Cashdollar would point to those five markers as a turning point.
"Too soon we got away from what we wanted to do," said Cashdollar. "Then they started shooting well in the second half."
After going just 2-of-12 with seven turnovers in the second quarter, Springfield hit four of its first five shots to start the second half. They answered a 6-0 Lisbon run with a 7-0 upstart that included a dunk from their 6-9 junior, Zach DeJane. DeJane led his team with 19 points
"I think they wore us down running players in and out," said Cashdollar. "Plus I was surprised by some of the turnovers we had. On the night I thought we played hard but not smart."
Good foul shooting for Tigers
Springfield used a 12-of-16 effort at the foul line to its advantage, while Lisbon, shooting bonus shots at 5:56 of the first half, made 9-of-16 free throws.
Springfield, which got points from nine players, saw McClearn collect 14, including four 3-pointers.
At one point in the second quarter, the Tigers turned the ball over on four straight possessions. Still Spaite was not overly concerned.
"We talked at the half," he said, "and we knew we were getting good looks but the shots weren't falling. I told the kids to just keep doing the same things and the shots will start going in. Plus we needed to settle down. We were making some bad mistakes.
"Overall the bench did a great job for us. Bobby Rogers came in and played a great second half."