The Tigers rallied in the second half to beat East Palestine 62-45.
By JOHN BUTERA
EAST PALESTINE -- When East Palestine High wasn't trying to shut down Springfield's Zach DeJane from inside they were trying to shut down Dane Dobson from outside. And they weren't having much luck as the Tigers used a second half uprising to beat the Bulldogs, 62-45, in a non-conference boys basketball game Tuesday night.
"They had too many weapons," said East Palestine coach Tom Bingham, "and you can't defend them all. If there is anyone out there who doesn't think they are the favorite in the ICL, they didn't see the same team I saw."
The team Bingham saw was one that featured the 6-foot-9 DeJane score 23 points, grab five rebounds and block five shots. A dozen of his points came in the fourth quarter and nine in the third periods.
Deadly from long range
Dobson, meanwhile, did his damage from long range, hitting five 3-point shots en route to 16 points.
"They're good," added Bingham, "and they didn't surprise us. We knew what they could do."
With the Tigers ahead by eight points and 5 minutes, 37 seconds remaining in the game, DeJane took control. He scored on four straight trips, including one possession when he connected after two teammates missed. Then he scored on a tap in after four misses. Finally his fielder after the Bulldogs missed two free throws put the game away, 55-39.
The Bulldogs, who didn't have a field goal in the fourth period until 2:13 remained, jumped out to an early 8-1 lead as Travis Foreman worked his way inside for three field goals. East Palestine continued to lead as late as the 5:47 mark of the second period, when Jake Figley converted a steal into a 17-11 advantage.
With DeJane on the bench over the final 7:30 of the first half, Springfield caught fire, running off 10 straight points for a 21-19 halftime edge.
East Palestine managed one more tie, at 23-all, with 6:15 remaining in the third period, but by then DeJane was starting find his form.
"I was in a little foul trouble early," said DeJane, who picked up only his second personal with 7:30 remaining in the second period.
"And I wasn't playing as intense early," he added. "They were doubling me from the back side so I knew someone was open and Dobson really picked it up. He played a great game."
Tigers coach Grant Spaite agreed with DeJane.
"In my opinion, Zach was playing up to his potential early," said Spaite. "Plus we had confidence in our guys coming in off the bench. Jeremy Savaet and Bobby Rogers really did a great job. Plus Dobson gave us a needed lift. He handled the pressure and knocked down some big shots."
Shot well from field
Springfield, who shot 22-of-51 from the floor, out rebounded the Bulldogs, 26-22. Dan Hanolt grabbed eight boards for East Palestine while scoring a team-high 17 points. Foreman, who held his own, especially early, ended with 16 points.
"I was proud of the way we didn't quit," said Bingham. "They're good and we didn't have any answers for their big man down low."