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Springfield uses 28-0 run to whip LaBrae

Staff photo / Brad Emerine Springfield’s Evan Ohlin scans the floor before driving the baseline Friday night against LaBrae’s Justin Rutherford. Ohlin surpassed 1,000 career points in the Tigers’ 82-47 non-league victory in New Middletown.

NEW MIDDLETOWN — Friday night’s non-league game between LaBrae and host Springfield had a lot of buildup.

Both teams are seeded second in their respective Division III district tournaments — the Tigers in the Salem District and the Vikings in the Warren District.

Springfield entered with an eight-game winning streak. The Tigers were competing on Senior Night, and senior Evan Ohlin was close to surpassing the 1,000-points scored club.

The game was being carried by a local television station, the crowd was quite sizable and the Springfield pep band was excellent.

The contest lived up to the hype … for about 14 minutes.

Then it quickly became a blowout as the Tigers went on a 28-0 scoring spree that covered 7:46 of game clock and led to an 82-47 victory.

“It was a close game late in the first half, and we settled in, didn’t turn the ball over as much, played solid defense and got some turnovers and capitalized,” Ohlin said. “We felt the momentum swing, the crowd got into it and next thing you know, we’re up by 15 at the half.”

The Tigers led just 27-26 after a 3-pointer by LaBrae’s Aidan Stephens. Ohlin then scored seven points in a 15-0 run that gave the hosts a 42-26 halftime lead. His old-fashioned three-point play pushed him over 1,000 career points 32 seconds before halftime.

“It was a great feeling to do it at home, and to do it on Senior Night was really special,” Ohlin said. “Plus it was on TV, too, which is pretty cool.”

Ohlin joined teammate Drew Clark on that 1,000-point list. Clark, who reached the milestone earlier this season, added 24 points against LaBrae.

“We came out pretty sloppy in the first quarter, but then put it together in the second quarter, and we went from a close game to up a bunch in a blink of an eye,” Clark said. “We weren’t ready for their physicality in the first quarter, but we came out and matched them from the second quarter on.”

Springfield finished the regular season 16-6 and has won nine games in a row.

“All credit goes to (Springfield),” said LaBrae coach Chad Kiser, whose team dropped to 16-6. “They set screens, moved without the basketball and they’re just difficult to defend because they’re so balanced. If you switch, they find mismatches. X and-O wise, they were punishing us in every spot. As soon as you help off, they rotate the ball and find someone for an open 3 or take advantage of a big posting up a guard.

“Clark dominated the paint defensively. He must have had six or seven blocks, and we got intimidated and didn’t attack the basket. We missed our mid-range jumpers all-night long. They’re a complete team. They are definitely, by far, the best team we’ve played all year. They’re a confident group, and for good reason. They’re rolling right now.”

Adam Wharry scored 11 points for Springfield, Beau Brungard added nine and Lukas Yemma scored seven.

“We started to pull away when we went to our trapping defenses, and it snowballed for us,” Springfield coach Steven French said. “We got a lot of layups and several 3-pointers off the turnovers. Our kids shot it well tonight and got on a roll.

“Then they tried to press us some, looking for turnovers to try to get back into the game, and we beat it and got layups out of that as well. We’ve got a lot of guys who can score the ball, and when everything is clicking, it’s a beautiful thing.”

Connor Meyer and Tre’Von Drake scored 10 points apiece for the Vikings.

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