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The Suburbanite
  • Spartans seek to write new chapter in program history

  • The Springfield Spartans can’t rewrite their history, but they can make sure the next chapter reads more positively for a program that has seen its share of disappointing years.

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  • The Springfield Spartans can’t rewrite their history, but they can make sure the next chapter reads more positively for a program that has seen its share of disappointing years.
    The Spartans penned another winning story in a Portage Trail Conference road game against Kent Roosevelt, triumphing 62-57 in a contest that was close throughout.
    After besting the Rough Riders 54-29 at home last month, Springfield knew it would be in for a fight against a young, yet talented Roosevelt team. With senior guard Corey Mitchell struggling in the first game, Roosevelt couldn’t keep up.
    This time, Mitchell was in top form and the game was close. Springfield (13-6, 7-5 PTC Metro) sprinted past their hosts in the closing minutes as junior forward Victor Dorsey, who came in averaging nearly 19 points per game, notched 17 in the second half and scored his team’s final five points of the game.
    Dorsey, who had to sit the first four minutes of the game after missing a practice earlier in the week due to illness, had 22 points on the night and got on track when his team needed it the most. Neither team was able to gain any real separation, with an early 17-10 lead for Springfield serving as the biggest edge all night.
    Showing youthful resilience, the Rough Riders (4-13, 4-9 PTC) fought back behind Mitchell and 6-foot-4 sophomore forward Joe Watts to trail by just one at the half. They aided their cause by making all three of their 3-pointers in the opening half and maintaining a 29-27 rebounding edge in the game.
    “Mitchell is a good player, and we knew we were fortunate last time that he had an off night. He can definitely score some points and they have a young team that, even though they’re struggling, they battled,” Springfield head coach Steve Shaffer said. “We were really in a dogfight tonight. We came out tonight and early on, I wasn’t really happy with our effort.”
    A one-point halftime lead (31-30) for the Spartans quickly dissipated after the half. Mitchell’s penetration and the strong play of Watts (14 points) and 6-foot-7 junior center Myles Wright (11 points, eight rebounds) inside allowed the Rough Riders to edge ahead, but it was the combined scoring punch of Dorsey and junior guard Jake Kitchen that pulled Springfield back each time.
    “I challenged them in the timeout that, hey, we have got to step up the effort and the intensity. It seemed like we would make a run and then they would always answer,” Shaffer said.
    Kitchen twice hit big triples.
    “When Jake is balanced and and feet are right, he’s a great shooter. He’s one of the best shooters in the league,” Shaffer said. “He stepped up tonight and we knew he would. He’s been struggling, but we knew he would step up.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Both sides had plenty of chances in the final frame, but neither cashed in a big shot to pull away. As the clock crept under three minutes, Springfield had a 56-55 edge and Shaffer elected to put the ball in his best player’s hands.
    Dorsey drove the lane, put up a twisting layup that missed and immediately bounced back up in the air for a rebound and putback to extend the lead to three. After a missed shot by Mitchell at the other end, Roosevelt hurriedly fouled the Spartans multiple times because a lack of second-half fouls had them well under the number needed to send Springfield to the line for a 1-and-1.
    After the third foul, Shaffer dialed up a play that called for a lob from just behind center court to a streaking Dorsey on the left side of the basket. The play worked to perfection. Dorsey converted the easy look and Springfield had the breathing room it needed as Roosevelt continued to apply pressure and fire quick shots at the basket.
    The Spartans also did themselves a big
    favor by keeping their turnovers to a minimum, accumulating just 11.
    Dorsey led the way with 22 points and six rebounds, which Kitchen chipped in with 17 and sophomore forward Colin Floyd added 10.
    Mitchell led Roosevelt with 17.
    The win was definitely not easy for Springfield, but a program that has perennially entered the Canton Memorial Fieldhouse Division II sectional tournament as the lowest-seeded team will enter it this year with at least 13 wins.
    “Springfield hasn’t seen 13 wins in a while,” Shaffer said. “We talked about that, and the Springfield record books are full of losing seasons. To get 13 wins, that’s quite an accomplishment for the guys.”

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