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The Suburbanite
  • Lady Spartans end season of improvement with loss to Canton South Wildcats

  • The Springfield Spartans had made large strides throughout the 2012-13 season, won more games than their previous two seasons combined and been hot over the past month, including a win over PTC Metro Division champion Norton.

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  • It wasn’t supposed to end this way.
    The Springfield Spartans had made large strides throughout the 2012-13 season, won more games than their previous two seasons combined and been hot over the past month, including a win over PTC Metro Division champion Norton.
    Yet the 61-30 loss the Spartans sustained to Canton South in a Uniontown Division II sectional tournament first-round game looked disappointingly like the result the Spartans have seen to end too many years in recent memory.
    The rout certainly didn’t seem to be the likely outcome at halftime, with the Wildcats (10-13) ahead by just 11 points, 24-13, even though the Springfield offense couldn’t get anything going.
    “We were not playing particularly well in the first half, and to be down by 11, I thought, was a blessing because we were playing horrible defensively,” Springfield coach Lori Henary said. “Offensively, we weren’t playing bad, we were getting good ball movement and getting tons of shots, just nothing was falling, and I know that deflates you a little bit defensively, but being down 11 at halftime and doing what we did in the third quarter is not exactly the best picture of what we want to leave for this season.”
    Playing their first game in a week, the Spartans’ shooting was as cold as the frigid Northeast Ohio night outside.
    Henary refused to use the layoff as an excuse and thought the time off might do a banged-up team some good in preparing for the postseason.
    “I gave them some time off this week, I thought maybe that would help our legs a little bit because we do only play seven girls, but that (the layoff) is not an excuse for the loss,” Henary said.
    Instead, the Wildcats’ length bothered the Spartans all night long, both in the paint and in ball security.
    After Springfield scored the first four points of the third quarter to pull within seven, a blizzard of turnovers snowed them under and allowed Canton South to close the quarter on a 23-2 run to enter the fourth with a 47-19 lead. The Spartans (7-16) committed 18 turnovers, most in the third quarter.
    “I think they bothered some of our shots defensively, but honestly, we took a lot of jumpers that just didn’t go in,” Henary said. “Then in the second half, we scored the first four points, but after that, it was turnover, turnover, turnover and off the way.”
    Henary was disappointed with her team’s effort, especially in light of the progress it had made over the course of the season.
    “The last stretch of the month, we had a really good month that started when we beat Norton and we saw some real strides over the course of the season and then over this last week, we forgot how to play,” Henary said.
    Page 2 of 2 - Senior forward Sam Karas was the only player in double figures for the Spartans, notching 15 to lead all scorers, with sophomore guard Ally Graham adding eight.
    Sophomore guard Hunter Harris led Canton South with 14 points.
    Even with the defeat, the program ends the year with more positive traction than it has possessed in several years. While the loss of four senior starters, including Karas and point guard Jamie Alcorn, will be tough to overcome, Henary has raised expectations and what she demands of her team.
    “We obviously got better and we had a lot of ground to make up at the start of the season,” the third-year coach said. “I think we worked hard every day, and I think overall we got better. You can see it on film, but it just stinks to end on that kind of game when we’ve made such improvements.”

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