Springdale boys survive Sewickley Academy rally, advance to quarterfinals

Saturday, February 15, 2020 | 6:37 PM

Springdale’s 57-49 win over Sewickley Academy on Saturday may not be featured prominently in the Dynamos’ season highlight tape.

But they don’t care. They’re just happy to move on in the WPIAL Class 2A playoffs.

“At this point, it’s survive and advance,” Springdale coach Aaron Epps said. “It got a little ugly at the end. For not having any seniors and with us being a young team, I thought we handled it pretty well.”

There were some tense moments, though, for fourth-seeded Springdale (20-3). After building an 18-point lead, 47-29, with 6:15 left to play, the Dynamos appeared headed for an easy win. However, the No. 13 Panthers (7-13) didn’t buy into that storyline.

Sewickley Academy embarked on a furious comeback and got within two shots of tying the game, 55-49, with 8.3 seconds to go, but fell short.

“We’re really proud of our guys. We’re a young team, and most of these guys haven’t experienced that, and our shooting reflected that,” Sewickley Academy coach Win Palmer said. “We dug ourselves a big hole. Give Springdale credit because they shot the ball well. I love our guys because they never gave up.”

The Panthers got a boost when Springdale’s leading scorer, Demitri Fritch, picked up his fifth personal foul and exited the game with 3:26 to play.

“When Demitri went out, I think our team was a little shook,” Springdale’s Logan Dexter said. “We pulled through, though. We had to keep our composure and stay calm. A win is a win. We knew they were better than their record. It showed. They almost took it from us. They didn’t give up at all. They were a scrappy team, and they came to play.”

Sewickley Academy suffered a key loss, too, when Sal Laure fouled out with 1:35 to play. His 15 points topped the team.

“Even though he’s a sophomore, he’s a real good player for us,” Palmer said. “That’s OK. What a great experience for our guys. Very few of them had experienced anything like this. Going into the summer, very few thought they would, but they’ve adjusted well. We’re really proud of our guys.”

Fritch, who entered the game averaging 24.6 points per game, was limited to six.

“He had a lot of rebounds and a lot of big assists. I kept telling him I thought he was having a good game even though he wasn’t scoring,” Epps said. “They were paying attention to him a lot. All of our kids played well, though. We’re not a deep team, so we need everyone.”

Dexter led Springdale with 18 points. Ryan Reinsfelder had 15, while Ben Myford added 14 for the Dynamos, who meet rival Winchester Thurston in Friday’s quarterfinals.

“It’s hard to beat a team three times, let alone four,” Epps said. “The good thing is that it’s probably our biggest rival in the section. They don’t like us, and we don’t like them. I don’t need to motivate our guys too much. Friday night will be a wild night. We’ll be ready to go and so will they. They’ve gotten a lot better since we saw them a couple weeks ago.”

Joe Sager is a freelance writer.

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