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Springfield boys basketball team building chemistry

1/9/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield boys basketball head coach Steve Shaffer said he is “a little disappointed” with the team’s record so far, but added the team is only a few points — and a little bit of chemistry — away from turning things around.

Through the first eight games of the season, Springfield had an overall record of 3-5 and a 1-3 mark in the Portage Trail Conference.

“We thought a couple of the losses could have gone either way, and we thought we should have come away with wins, so we very easily could be 5-3,” the coach said. “I think offensively we are getting better, and we’re still one of the top teams in the league defensively. We’re happy with how we are doing defensively — the kids play hard and they’re buying into what we’re asking them to do — but it’s just been a tough time developing some chemistry offensively, and that’s because we’ve got so many new guys in there now.”

Shaffer said the team only has two starters from last year’s squad playing right now: senior guard Jake Kitchen and senior forward Shane Robinson.

“Jake was second team all-league last year and we rely on him to do a lot of things. Teams have really been focusing on him and he’s handled it well,” the coach said. “And we really count on Shane defensively. He’s a good defender and a good rebounder.”

A senior who is in his first year as a starter for the team, Shaffer said, is guard Michael Perkins.

“Mike’s done everything we’ve asked him to do,” the coach said. “He’s been good defensively and he’s done a really good job for us. Sometimes, he draws the opposing team’s best offensive player.”

Rounding out the starting lineup for Springfield are junior guard Alex Clark and sophomore guard-forward Ronnie Dawson.

“Offensively, Alex has really given us a lift and he also does a good job on defense. He’s come in and sparked us on both ends of the floor,” Shaffer stated. “Ronnie is young and learning. He’s kind of been pushed into action, but he plays hard and he’s getting better every day.”

According to the coach, Springfield will get a boost soon when senior forward Victor Dorsey returns from suspension.

“We’ll get him back in game 12,” the coach said. “He was honorable mention all-Ohio last year, so he’s a big part of what we do. He averaged 19 points and 12 rebounds a game last year. He does a lot of good things on the floor, and the kids are looking forward to him coming back.”

Shaffer said he has been experimenting in an attempt to find the team’s best starting lineup.

“We’re still really trying to find the right combination, and it’s varied from game to game,” he said. “We play about seven or eight guys and we vary our lineup a lot of times according to our defensive needs. Plus, our lineup will change once we get Victor back. We just haven’t found that group that’s been consistent with each other and developed chemistry. But we’re working on it.”

The team’s No. 1 goal for this season, Shaffer said, is a league title.

“We’ve been right there with some pretty good teams, and we think we can create some problems in the league,” he said. “We want to be right up there at the top when it’s all said and done. We plan to be fighting for that top spot in the league.”

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