No. 1 OLSH blows out No. 2 Springdale in battle of top teams

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Tuesday, January 12, 2021 | 9:52 PM


The matchup between WPIAL Class 2A No. 1 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and No. 2 Springdale on Tuesday was a year in the making.

Both teams but together fantastic seasons last year, but Springdale’s was derailed by Winchester Thurston in the WPIAL quarterfinals before OLSH went on to win the whole thing.

So, when the two teams met at Donald C. McGhee Fieldhouse in Springdale for their first of two section games this season, the top-ranked team and defending champs left no doubt.

Junior guard Jake DiMichele’s 30-point performance led the Chargers (3-0, 2-0) to a 75-54 Section 1-2A win over Springdale (1-1, 0-1), but OLSH coach Mike Rodriguez said his team still has a long way to go.

“This early in the season where we haven’t had much time for the team to practice together, it’s significant, but I don’t think we played particularly well,” Rodriguez said. “I think both teams were rusty, and both teams weren’t shooting it the way they are capable of shooting it.”

The two teams battled through the first quarter and a strong defensive performance on both ends kept the score close. But, as the second quarter began, the Chargers started making shots while the Dynamos struggled to find any type of rhythm.

The Chargers continued to switch between a 2-3 and 3-2 zone and the Dynamos couldn’t find a way to work the ball inside. When they did, OLSH’s size took over and the play resulted in a block or missed shot, and the Chargers would be off and running.

“They always play zone. That’s what they do,” Springdale coach Aaron Epps said. “But I think part of the reason people play zones against us is because with Demitri and Logan, it’s hard to play those guys man-to-man and not get into foul trouble. The bottom line is we have to be better against the zone, but I don’t think we’ve shot it particularly great, as good as we did last year, so far. But, it’s early.”

OLSH took a 13-point lead into halftime and outscored the Dynamos 21-15 in the third and continued to pour it on in the fourth.

As usual, senior guard Dante Spadafora complemented the play of DiMichele. He pressured the Dynamos at the top of the defensive zone and produced several turnovers that led to easy baskets at the other end. He finished with 14 points

“He’s like that all game long, and he’s got a motor as you can see. The ball is gonna be pressured when he’s in the game,” Rodriguez said.

Demitri Fritch finished with 20 points for Springdale, and Logan Dexter had a big second half, scoring 15 of his 16 points. Ben Myford had 13.

After Springdale cruised through its schedule last season, Epps designed a tough nonconference schedule this year to go with a tough section schedule. Epps believes a loss like this will make his team better in the stretch run.

“Playing a game like this is great, OLSH is just as good as advertised and they might be the best team we play all year, just a very well coached team,” Epps said. “I’m not upset, the guys competed hard, and to be honest, I felt like in the first half, the tempo was where we wanted it, and if we could’ve stayed in that triangle a little bit more, I thought we could’ve had a good chance.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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