By STEVE WILAJ
Friday’s matchup between Springfield and South Range featured the big men, Springfield’s Jared McTigue and Mark Schuler, vs. the big man, the Raiders’ Tyler Beverly.
While Beverly — at 6-foot-4 — held the height advantage, in the end, the Tigers’ duo of Schuler (6-3) and McTigue (6-2) proved too tall of a task for the Raiders.
Schuler and McTigue combined for 17 points and 21 rebounds, controlling the paint throughout in Springfield’s 52-41 victory.
“We know Beverly’s a good player,” Tiger’s coach Eric Fender said. “But he’s one guy and we feel like we have two or three guys.”
Schuler posted nine points and 11 boards while McTigue scored eight points to go along with 10 rebounds. Beverly had nine points and 11 rebounds.
“We knew if we controlled him, we’d have a good shot at winning this game,” Schuler said. “I felt me and McTigue both did a really good job of controlling him in the paint and limiting his shots.”
However, the Tigers big men received some help in limiting Beverly when he picked up his fourth foul early in the third quarter. At the time, South Range (5-8, 4-5 Inter Tri-County League, Tier One) held a four-point lead.
“Tyler’s kind of the center of our team defensively and offensively,” Raiders coach Dave Purins said. “He takes care of the boards and protects the basket on defense, and offensively we like to play into him and out, so it changed the complexity of our team.”
Springfield closed the third quarter with an 8-0 run in the final minute. The spurt — which gave the Tigers (10-2, 9-0) a 39-32 advantage — was keyed by two buckets from Eoghan Bees.
“It was huge. For the first half and probably six minutes into the third quarter, they were controlling the tempo,” Fender said. “Then when Beverly got into foul trouble, we were able to take advantage down low and change the tides a little bit at the end of the quarter, which is always a good feeling.”
The closest South Range got after that was 46-41 with 54 seconds left, until free throws from the Tigers sealed the deal.
“At the end of the third quarter, we realized that we had to step it up if we wanted to pull this one out,” Schuler said. “When we stepped it up we just kept rolling from there on out.”
Brandon Chamberlain led Springfield with 13 points and Bees had 12. Robert Seman and Cole Krumpak each scored 10 points for the Raiders.