By Johnny Sanders, Sports Editor
SPRINGVILLE – The Springville Tigers hosted the Saint Clair County Saints on Tuesday night in the first round of the 5A Area 11 tournament with a shot at the finals hanging in the balance. A competitive game in the first quarter turned into a blowout win for the host team, proving why they are the number one seed in the area tournament. Suffocating defense and a sharp shooting performance by Ben Wood catapulted the Tigers into the final round of the tournament to be played on Friday night.
The Saints found some success in the first quarter of the game, scoring their game-high 18 points during the period. Not to be outdone, Springville put up 21 to top the visiting team. Ty Harrison got his night started with 10 of those 22 points, along with 4 from teammate Collin Lockhart.
The second quarter would be a bit slow offensively for both teams, comparatively speaking. Saint Clair would manage just 10 points as the Springville defense tightened up in the period. Springville would have their lowest output of the game in the second, scoring 13. Zach Brown would hit a pair of three-pointers to lead the Tigers, along with 4 more from Lockhart for the quarter. Springville would take a 37-28 lead into halftime.
The Springville defense would hold serve in the third quarter, allowing just 13 points from the Saints from Saint Clair. On offense, the Tigers would put up 20 points themselves. The scoring was pretty evenly spread as Lockhart, Harrison, Ben Wood, and Ayden Walton all had 4 points each to go with 3 from Jake Isbell. All of this would lead to a 57-41 lead for the Tigers heading into the final frame.
As if Springville’s defensive efforts in the last two quarters were not enough, they would squeeze the life out of the Saints in the final quarter of the game, holding them to just 4 points in the period. On offense, the Tigers would score 18 points, led by Brodie Frederick with 8 points and Ben Wood with another 7, sealing the deal for top-seeded Springville Tigers and punching their ticket to Friday night’s championship game.
For the Tigers, 4 players found themselves in double digits in scoring. Ben Wood led the way with 16 points on the night. Ty Harrison and Collin Lockhart each had 14 points in the game and Brodie Frederick added another 10 with Zach Brown sitting just outside of the double-digit club with 9 points on 3 three-pointers.
“A lot of credit to Saint Clair County,” said Brandon Easterwood, Springville’s Coach. “They came out hot and knocked down some shots early and got us on our heels. We picked up our defense as the game went on and played through our mistakes. Having four players in double digits speaks to our depth and that we can have success in different ways.”
Easterwood continued, “We handled adversity and overcame some things early. We will have to play much better to have a chance on Friday. It will take a complete game.”
The Tigers will host the rival Moody Blue Devils, who defeated Leeds Tuesday night, on Friday for the area championship.