ATWATER OH- In the second matchup in two days between Springfield and Waterloo, Fred Brookover Gymnasium in Atwater, Ohio played host to the boys edition of The Tigers versus The Vikings. Springfield came into this season as defending conference champs, going an impressive 14-0 against Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference (MVAC) Scarlet Division opponents. Despite losing a large portion of their team from a season ago due to graduation, The Tigers still found themselves in a second place tie in the conference with none other than The Vikings at the midway point of the season. Making their first meeting of the campaign on Tuesday night extra special knowing that sole possession of second place was on the line, keeping the winner one game back of conference leader Lowellville.
Both teams exchanged a bucket early on, before Springfield started establishing a rhythm from the arc, with Seandelle Gardner being a premier shooter for The Tigers, capitalizing on a 14-8 lead after one quarter. Keeping that momentum from the first quarter and carrying it over to the second, The Tigers hot hand from distance continued, allowing them to extend their lead to double digits towards the end of the first half. Waterloo senior Navarre Alhassan had a response ready, nailing a much-needed three pointer to cut the Springfield lead. However, Coach Brink’s team remained in front 26-18 at the half.
The horn was sounded at halftime and Waterloo Head Coach Jason Wise stressed the importance of defense in the locker room during the break and did The Vikings ever lock it down. Holding a solid Springfield offense to just three points total in the third quarter, Waterloo was able to inch closer, but still trails The Tigers by five entering the fourth quarter. The Viking defense remained as relenting in the fourth, while Navarre Alhassan entered the zone in clutch time and played takeover offense in the final quarter once again. Finishing with 24 points and 12 of them coming in the fourth, Alhassan, along with a lockdown Waterloo defense, pulled through 40-37 in a comeback victory over Springfield!
Following the loss, Springfield (5-6)(4-2) will now set their sights on McDonald (3-9)(1-5) where they will pay The Blue Devils a visit on Friday, January 13th. The win for Waterloo (10-3)(5-1) sets them up in a battle for first place with Lowellville (10-1)(6-0) where The Rockets will come to Atwater, also on Friday! Interview with winning Head Coach Jason Wise can be found below!
Navarre Alhassan: 24 PTS. (Player of The Game)
Anthony Podojil: 8 PTS.
Ryan Wise: 6 PTS.
Drew Flarida: 2 PTS.
Seandelle Gardner: 16 PTS.
Nico Servedio: 8 PTS.
Connor Hudran: 7 PTS.
Sean Guerriero: 2 PTS.
Brandon Price: 2 PTS.
Dylan Sheely: 2 PTS.
Scoring by Quarter
Q1: Waterloo 8 – 14 Springfield
Q2: Waterloo 10 – 12 Springfield
Q3: Waterloo 6 – 3 Springfield
Q4: Waterloo 16 – 8 Springfield
Final: Waterloo 40 – 37 Springfield