Springdale ekes out win over rival Apollo-Ridge

Tuesday, January 7, 2020 | 11:14 PM

Another game between Springdale and Apollo-Ridge, another nailbiter.

After two games decided in the final seconds last season, Springdale held on to defeat Apollo-Ridge, 51-48, Tuesday night at Donald McGhee Fieldhouse.

Dynamos sophomore Logan Dexter made two steals in the final minute of play near the Apollo-Ridge key to help preserve the victory.

Springdale won by hitting 3 of 6 foul shots down the stretch. But the misses kept the Vikings in the game.

Chris Mitchell hit the first free throw with 9.9 seconds left to give the Dynamos a 51-48 lead. He missed the second shot, Jake Fello collected the rebound and missed a 3-point attempt that would have tied the game just before time expired.

“Logan’s just a great, great player,” said Dynamos coach Aaron Epps. “His energy is unbelievable. He never gets tired and just gets after it. He’s a very good defender and we put him on (Keighton) Reese.”

The win gave No. 3-ranked Springdale a 5-0 mark in Section 2-2A, 11-1 overall. Apollo-Ridge slipped to 8-3, 3-2.

Both teams finished last season’s section play with 8-6 records. Springdale, however, got the playoff nod with two victories over the Vikings.

As with most games between the two schools, clutch plays made the difference.

“We match up with each other pretty well,” said Vikings coach Greg Fox. “We expect nothing less than a game like this. We had too many turnovers, particularly in the second half, especially in crucial situation. It came down to they just made a couple more plays than we did.”

The Vikings got another quality performance from junior forward Klay Fitzroy, who had 17 points and 15 rebounds.

For a while, it looked as if Apollo-Ridge would play its way into a first-place tie with Springdale. The Vikings were bolstered by Zander Garrone coming off the bench to score 10 points in the first half as the Vikings built as much as a 12-point lead in the second period.

Said Fox: “Zander gave us a spark out tonight. Sometimes he’s the forgotten man and he took advantage of that out there. Klay is a special talent. His skill set allows him to rebound, push it upcourt. He can do it all.”

Down 30-21 to start the second half, Springdale caught fire, outscoring the Vikings 22-10 in the third period. The Dynamos defense forced seven turnovers.

“I told them at halftime that Apollo was just playing harder than us. They were more physical and wanted it more,” Epps said. “The game was going to come down to us wanting to play defense. In the second half, we really imposed our will.”

Demitri Fritch scored 12 of his game-high 25 points in the third period. Ryan Reinspelder’s only basket of the game was a 3-pointer in front of the Springdale student section with five seconds left in the third quarter.

Fitzroy scored Apollo-Ridge’s first six points in the fourth period. He played most of the fourth quarter with four personals. Reese tied the game at 48-all on a basket with 2:11 to go.

Fritch had 11 rebounds and Dexter finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds.

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