Springdale boys win again, get off to best start since mid-1980s

Saturday, December 28, 2019 | 11:02 PM

Springdale is 9-0 for the first time since the 1984-85 season.

The Dynamos kept their record unblemished Saturday night with a 56-42 victory over Winchester-Thurston in the championship game of the St. Joseph Holiday Tournament at Walter Dlubak Center.

Demetri Fritch, named a tournament MVP for the second time this season, spurred the Springdale cause with 24 points and 17 rebounds.

The Dynamos kept the Bears (5-3) scoreless for two 3-minute segments in the fourth quarter to pull away late.

“I didn’t know it was 35 years,” Springdale coach Aaron Epps said of the start. “That’s a testament to the kids. They listen, work hard, and they’ve come a long way. They believe in each other and play for each other.”

But the game wasn’t without controversies.

Winchester-Thurston coach Jordan Marks was called for a technical foul with 2 minutes, 59 seconds left in the first quarter. One of his assistants also was whistled for a technical. But the Dynamos could convert only one of a six possible points.

“That was my first technical,” Marks said. “I said, ‘Time out, time out,’ the whole way down the court. He said, ‘T,’ and I said, ‘For what?’ He said, ‘Unsportsmanlike.’ We’re going to appeal to the WPIAL, and we’ll see what happens.”

It was the second time in the past eight days the teams played. There was a time when the WPIAL forbid section foes from playing each other in nonsection encounters. That was relaxed when the energy crisis occurred in the last 1970s and travel was curtailed.

“I absolutely hate it,” Epps said of playing a section opponent. “But I don’t think it was done purposely. It was just something that happened. I would not want to do that again. But when the ball goes up, we come to play.”

Springdale took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Fritch with 3:54 left in the first period.

“It’s great. We’ve all been working hard,” Fritch said of the hot start. “We’re all contributing. We knew it would get chippy coming into this one.”

The Bears kept it close, trailing by 27-24 at the half. Nathan Donner’s 3-pointer brought Winchester-Thurston to within 25-24 with 2:10 left in the second.

Logan Dexter, who scored 20, picked up his third personal foul early in the second quarter and had to sit. But he was 12 of 16 from the free-throw line, hitting five in the fourth quarter.

Marks was also unhappy with the foul disparity. Springdale shot 33 free throws to the Bears’ eight.

“When you’re a 16- or 17-year-old kid, it’s hard not to lose your mind,” Marks said. “My kids fed into it a little bit, and I told them not to worry about it and just keep playing. But, mentally, it’s hard.”

Springdale defeated Winchester-Thurston, 77-67, at Donald McGhee Fieldhouse on Dec. 20. The teams will battle for the third time this season Jan. 24 at Winchester-Thurston.

The Bears were led by Langston Moses, who had 14 points, and Igor Karosewicz added 12.

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