To get their first win of the season, the Springfield Spartans went big.

To get their first win of the season, the Springfield Spartans went big.

Winless in their first 13 games of the season, the Spartans scored that elusive first win playing on the same floor as LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Their 39-38 win over the East Dragons at Quicken Loans Arena was memorable on several levels and ending the day watching the Cavs take on the Golden State Warriors was merely the icing on the basketball cake.

“It was excitement … I think they were just happy all around,” head coach Kevin Pletcher said. “We basically spent our entire day up there. We got to walk around and get something to eat at the Tower City mall and that win was the cherry on top of the day.”

Springfield was one of several teams selected to play a game at the Court of Dreams event at the Q, facing East on Jan. 18. With 13 consecutive losses on their ledger, the game was a chance for the Spartans to enjoy a day in Cleveland and play on an NBA court.

Because the game took place on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, the team was able to spend the day hanging out downtown without missing school. Enjoying each other’s company, shopping and eating at the mall created a different vibe than a normal game day, but that change seemed to benefit the Spartans.

“They loved and it and being able to win and it was a great day. The girls were just really excited about playing up there and it’s a diff atmosphere on the floor because that floor is so big and the arena itself is huge,” Pletcher said. “Winning was a relief and kind of that monkey off our back because we’ve been very competitive with who we played the last six or seven games of our schedule.”

After coming close in several recent games, Springfield took the court against East believing it was close to a breakthrough. Their most recent losses had come by single digits to Portage Trail Conference foes, but East was a short break from the league grind and the two teams didn’t have much familiarity with one another.

They proved to be evenly matched opponents, with neither side able to grab a lead larger than six points for most of the contest. Time after time, one side edged ahead only to see the other team climb back into the game. It wasn’t until Springfield mounted a strong run to start the fourth quarter that the Spartans finally seized control of the game.

Pletcher believes the run finally wore the Dragons down and by the time the last minute of the game rolled around, Springfield found itself ahead and with a chance to add two crucial insurance points.

“We were basically able to chip away to where the last few seconds of the game (senior guard) Sarah Treen gets fouled and she make both shots to give us a four-point lead,” Pletcher said. “They came down and hit a three at the buzzer, but it was moot at that point.”

Senior forward Allie Rodenbucher led the way for the Spartans in victory, scoring 20 points to account for more than half of her team’s point total. Treen was solid throughout as well and despite making just 11 of 26 shots from the foul line, the Spartans rode the efforts of their two top players to a win that provided the validation they had been seeking for their hard work throughout the season.

One win doesn’t cure all that ails a team, but it does show players that what they are doing in practice and in the weight room works. Even with a tough loss to one of the top teams in the PTC, Ravenna, in their next game, the Spartans will look to build on their success in the final seven games of the regular season.

“I think it gives us confidence. We’ve been getting much better and from the beginning to November until now is like night and day,” Pletcher said. “i just think it helps all around … the attitude and positivity, knowing we can win even though we had some close losses, but things bounced our way this time.”

Reach Andy at 330-580-8936 or andy.harris@thesuburbanite.com.
On Twitter: @aharrisBURB