Springdale boys eke out win over Leechburg

Friday, February 3, 2023 | 10:24 PM

The Springdale boys basketball team kept its playoff chances alive by beating Leechburg in a 43-41 thriller Friday night at Donald G. McGhee Fieldhouse.

The Dynamos (9-11, 3-7) completed a season sweep of the Blue Devils (8-11, 3-7).

Leechburg led 41-39 with under a minute to play, but a John Hughes layup, Jackson Pribanic’s tiebreaking layup and clutch defense led to the Dynamos victory.

“It’s do or die,” Springdale coach Kobe Phillippi said. “We knew the numbers looking in, and if we lost, we were done, but our guys played together very well. Everyone contributed, and our fans were incredible tonight and we had a great atmosphere here tonight. It was wonderful.”

Phillippi said the key to success was keeping the Blue Devils’ leading scorers, Owen McDermott and Marcus Cleveland, in check.

“They both killed us last time we played,” Phillippi said. “We knew we wanted to keep them contained and we stuck the game plan.

Mason Gent, who had three blocks, Chase Weihrauch and Hughes anchored the defense.

Gent finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds, and Hughes made three 3-pointers and had 15 points.

Gent said the crowd fueled the team.

“It’s great seeing everybody. I’m glad everybody came out,” Gent said. “I think days like today, the student section always has a bigger impact on the game. The crowd gets going, and it really gets a game moving.”

In the first quarter, the Dynamos clamped down, holding Leechburg to just seven points.

Hughes hit two straight 3s in the first quarter, scoring half of Springdale’s 12 first-quarter points.

With the help of Gent, who scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds in the first half, Springdale led 20-14 halfway through the second quarter.

Nonetheless, Leechburg altered the Dynamos’ dynamic offense as they gave Springdale a different look on defense, switching to a three-quarter zone trap.

The Blue Devils went on a 7-1 run to end the quarter, cutting the lead down to 22-21.

The Dynamos defense was persistent, holding Cleveland and McDermott scoreless in the third quarter.

In a tightly contested third, Springdale got back into rhythm after adjusting to Leechburg’s change of defense. The Dynamos outscored Leechburg, 11-9, going up 33-30.

In a back-and-forth fourth quarter, Tyler Foley made two free throws to put the Blue Devils up 40-39.

After an unsuccessful possession for Springdale, Leechburg’s Jaden Lloyd was fouled and made 1 out of 2 free throws.

On the inbound pass, Gent found Hughes on a full-court pass. Hughes made the tying layup.

After a missed shot by Cleveland, Billy Lawrence dished a pass over the Blue Devils defense to Pribanic for the winning basket.

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