New Middletown, OH (WYTV) – Coming off a big 78-56 win over league rival Lisbon Friday night, the Springfield Tigers had no time to enjoy the victory as they faced another outstanding team in the Brookfield Warriors on Saturday night. The Tigers showed no signs of a let down as they bounced the Warriors 57-34 behind the play of junior Graham Mincher and senior Brandon Chamberlain.
“The main thing we focused on was having energy,” Mincher remarked. “We knew having back-to-back game schedule, Friday and Saturday night was going to take some energy to get the wins, especially the second game tonight. We came in today and had a shoot around and we just focused on coming in with 32 minutes of energy.”
“When we saw the schedule we talked about it was going to be a very difficult weekend for us,” Tigers Coach Eric Fender said. “Both Lisbon and Brookfield are very good teams. But the other thing was how are we going to face the challenge? How are we going to face the adversity going into both games? I think we showed tonight that we played pretty well.”
The Tigers wasted little time in seizing the momentum as they raced out to 14-6 lead with just three minutes remaining in the first quarter. However, the Warriors would close the stanza with a 5-4 run to make 18-11 after one period of play. The Warriors closed the deficit down to just 4-points at 22-18 midway through the second quarter, but the Tigers would close by going on a 7-0 run to lead 29-18 at the half.
But the game seemed to really get away from the Warriors at the start of the second half as they would commit 5 turnovers and only connect on 1 of 7 shots from the floor. That helped to propel the Tigers on a 8-3 run to start the quarter, and led to them outscoring the Warriors 15-4 to take a 44-22 lead at the close of the quarter.
“Our defensive pressure is consistent. That is the one thing about us is the consistent (pressure). We never let up,” Mincher explained. “We’re all athletic across the team, and turnovers turn into points. We were hitting outside shots, but defense is were it starts.”
“That third quarter, the way we were able to extend the lead a little bit, get some defensive stops, rebounds and things like that, I think that really helped us set the tone for the second half,” Fender added.
“I just felt like we did not have one player who had it tonight,” Warriors Coach Bill Kovach said. “Credit to their defense, we knew what they were going to do. They did what we thought they would do. We just missed shots we normally don’t miss and it kind of snowballed.”
The Tigers pushed their advantage to 24-points at the 4:52 mark of the final frame when Mincher connected on a layup following a Warrior turnover. The Warriors were never able to get any closer than the 23-point final score margin from that point.
Mincher would close the game with a game-high 17 points while Chamberlain added 16. Senior forward Mark Schuler would lead the Tigers in rebounds with 8, and one blocked shot.
Marc Kraml came off the Warriors bench to lead them in scoring with 10 points. Jacob Jackson hauled down 8 caroms to lead the Warriors in rebounds.
“They’re undefeated. They’re one of the best teams in the area,” Kovach remarked. “For us to compete with them we had to take care of the ball, and we had to compete with them on the boards, and I don’t think we did either of those things tonight.”
“We got a great group of seniors,” Fender commented. “They are our leaders, they set the tone for us. Day in and day out they are working as hard as they can and I think tonight it showed. I think we played at our pace and they (Brookfield) played the way we wanted to play. We dictated what we wanted to do.”
The Tigers also captured the J-V contest, coming from behind to win 31-28 despite the Warriors Moataz Rasoul scoring a game-high 9 points.
COURTESY: LOWELL SPENCER, ITCLFOOTBALL.NET