By Steve Wilaj
Springfield point guard Eoghan Bees knew it wasn’t pretty.
“We came out and had a really sloppy game,” he admitted.
Still, he was all smiles — and a little sore — in the locker room after Friday night’s 57-51 win against Crestview.
“They’re one of the stronger teams, if not the strongest in the league,” Bees said. “For us to go out and match their physicality tonight, that was a big goal for us, and we did it. I feel like that’s why we ended up coming out on top, even though we had a lot of turnovers and didn’t really shoot the ball well.”
In a matchup of two of the area’s top teams, Springfield (13-3) and Crestview (10-6) played a game in which neither team seemed to want to take.
The Rebels committed 16 turnovers and the Tigers had 21.
Springfield coach Eric Fender was just happy his team limped away with a victory.
“Any time you get a win when you don’t play particularly well, it always feels good,” he said. “It was a pretty physical game tonight. I thought our kids battled through the toughness that Crestview brings and we made a few plays at the end to seal it.”
Although the Tigers led throughout the game, Crestview cut the Springfield advantage to 46-41 heading into the fourth quarter. The Rebels stuck around the entire final period, coming as close as 54-49 with 35 seconds remaining.
But a couple of Bees free throws with 15 seconds left extended the lead to 56-49, killing any thought of a Crestview comeback.
“We were kind of able to pick apart the halfcourt trap that they were running and we were able to get into our offense more at the end of the game,” Bees said. “That’s what eventually got us the win.”
Crestview was led by Robert Logan with 14 points and Collin Gilbert with 13. Rebels coach Herman Miller said he was glad his team stuck around, but didn’t capitalize on the Tigers sloppy play.
“I think we missed opportunities to take advantage of some of the turnovers we created,” Miller said. “But, all in all, I think Springfield has been the most solid basketball team all year as far as executing and taking care of things.”
Bees scored 15 points for the Tigers, while teammate Mark Schuler added a game-high 17 points and nine rebounds.