Springdale boys basketball expects winning ways to continue

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Saturday, December 4, 2021 | 7:50 PM


Winning is contagious.

That’s what first-year Springdale boys basketball coach Kobi Phillippi loves about his team. The success his players had in fall sports rolls right into basketball season.

“A lot of our kids are multisport athletes,” Phillippi said. “I think a lot of the kids have good coaches in the fall sports, and they won.”

Springdale’s winning culture is what attracted Phillippi to the job.

“They know how to win, and hopefully, they can bring that experience to the hardwood,” he said.

Phillippi arrives at Springdale from West Allegheny, where he was an assistant on Andrew Tsangaris’ staff for four years.

The 2020-21 basketball season will go down in the Springdale record books as “the season that could have been.” A covid-19 outbreak at the high school shut the season just before the start of the WPIAL playoffs.

Springdale was one of the top teams in Class 2A, earning the No. 4 seed in the WPIAL bracket. And just as the dynamic Dynamos were about to put on a first-round show for the homtown fans — it was over.

Last season’s ending is this season’s motivation.

“We got a bunch of kids that want to win,” senior forward Logan Dexter said. “I guess you could say that we have a little revenge season coming, to be honest.”

But first, the Dynamos have to learn a new offense.

Phillippi brought along one his former coaches in Rich Griffin, who is tasked with installing a “ball screen-continuity” offense.

“He actually coached me when I was younger,” Phillippi said. “I was lucky enough to bring him on.”

It can be a blessing or a curse when a team has to replace three starters. But when installing a new scheme, everyone is on common ground.

“I’m sure there’s growing pains as is with everything when adjusting to a new coach and a new system,” Phillippi said. “It’s been cool to see how quickly they adapt to what we teach, what we’re trying to do as a coaching staff and them reacting to it.”

With Dexter and senior guard Ryan Reinsfelder as the only returning starters, opportunities and playing time are up for grabs.

“(Reinsfelder is) one of the biggest competitors I’ve ever met,” Phillippi said.

One thing Phillippi likes about his Dynamos is their overall size. Springdale has length.

Springdale is looking for big things from junior guard Chris Mitchell. There’s a four-way competition for minutes between sophomores John Huges, Chase Weihrauch, Mason Gent and first-year senior Andrew Harmon.

“We got a lot of kids coming back who got significant minutes last year, and we got some kids that were not on film that are trying to prove what they got, too,” Phillipi said.

Springdale opens the season Friday at the Freeport tip-off tourney against Shady Side Academy.

“I’m excited for the atmosphere,” Phillippi said. “It will be a great atmosphere for the kids and cool for me to experience for the first time.

“I also learned how important the Riverview game is.”

William Whalen is a freelance writer.

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