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Flexibility, depth key for Springfield boys basketball team

3/16/2017 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

LAKEMORE — Springfield High School boys basketball head coach Timothy Cole said this year’s team took the steps necessary to “become a team that can compete against average and better teams.”

“I would have liked us to have a ‘program win’ this year, and we came close several times, but the goal for the team was to build off of last summer and get competitive in ballgames. There were a lot of blowouts last season, and we were in almost every game this season,” he said. “The most important goal was building leadership and strong community involvement throughout the program. My realistic goals had us winning a few more games than last season, but being much more competitive.”

Springfield, which finished with a 7-15 overall record, had four seniors who played key roles for the team this year, Cole said.

“Andrew Hanna averaged 11 points and 4.5 rebounds. He is the best leader I have coached in 25 years of coaching. He led in the classroom, in the community and on the court. I couldn’t ask for more out of him,” the coach said. “Logan Hedrick had his best season of basketball in his senior season. He is a tireless worker who is selfless and puts his teammates first. He played any role we asked out of him — starter, off the bench, guard the other team’s best player, attack the rim, knock down shots. Jordan Leon started off the season as our leading scorer and was tremendously athletic. He faced a season-ending shoulder surgery vs. Cloverleaf about a third of the way into the season and didn’t make it back in time for the tournament. Tracy Jordan started off as a dominating post player, highlighted by an 18-point, 10-rebound game vs. Streetsboro. He had to step away from the team to help his family and take care of some off-the-court obligations, and then came back near the end of the season to support his teammates. He’s a great kid with a ton of talent.”

Cole said the team’s strengths were “flexibility and depth,” with both being tested all season long.

“We were hit heavily by the injury and sickness bug,” he stated. “It forced us to change our entire approach to how we play three different times this season, which is not what any coach wants to do. But at the end of it all, we established exactly what these kids can do and forged a strong identity of who we are.”

According to Cole, the team received notable contributions from a number of different sophomores and juniors throughout the season.

“[Junior] Brody Carper does everything his coaches ask of him and is a great teammate. He leads by example and can always be counted on to do the right thing,” Cole said. “[Sophomore] Andrew Smith sat out the first half of the season because of a clerical error when his family moved to Springfield, but he was a dynamic scorer on the floor for the second half of the year. He averaged 10 points and five rebounds. [Junior] DeMone Riley was at Springfield as a freshman and then moved to North [High School in Akron] as a sophomore. He open-enrolled back to Springfield and had to sit out half the season. DeMone is an exceptional defender and did a great job of attacking the rim, rebounding and knocking down open threes for us in the second half of the season. [Junior] Jeff Wilson is one of the best ball handlers I’ve ever seen. He excels at making plays for his teammates and is a two-year starter. [Junior] Trevor Price is an incredibly hard worker and competitor. That is exactly why he started most of our games this year. Sophomores Shae Moles and Shawn Terry work very hard and do everything right. Junior Derek McComas was our starting four-man to begin the season. He broke his ankle 1 minute into the season and made it back before the year was out. He is poised for a break-out year as a senior.”

Going forward, Springfield will lose some seniors to graduation, but Cole said “the team’s prospects are good.”

“A total commitment to doing everything we can to be our best in June is our next step,” he said. “Our kids played as much basketball as they were allowed last June, and it resulted in a significant improvement in play this year. Now, we need an edge as competitors. That edge is sharpened in June when many teams just roll out the ball and play. We need to show up with a purpose and lay everything we have out there.”

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