Springdale tops rival Riverview to remain undefeated in section play

Tuesday, January 14, 2020 | 10:27 PM

Throughout the 2019-20 basketball season, the Springdale boys basketball team has been carried by a high-paced offense that has averaged 65.5 points a game, which is the third-highest in WPIAL Class 2A.

But on Tuesday evening at Donald G. McGhee Fieldhouse, the Dynamos (13-1, 7-0) were led by an intense defensive effort that created seven first-quarter turnovers and allowed them to jump out to a quick nine-point lead. They never looked back, cruising to a 60-49 Section 1-2A win over rival Riverview.

“Anytime you can get a section win, especially with a win over your rival, it’s definitely nice,” Springdale coach Aaron Epps said. “So we’re definitely happy with it tonight.”

In the first five minutes of the game, the Dynamos implemented an intense full-court press that sparked a 9-0 run as they created three turnovers on Riverview’s first four offensive possessions.

The press was something the Raiders (6-8, 2-5) came in ready for, but the intensity of it caught them off guard.

“It wasn’t their press. It was just how hard they pressed,” Riverview coach Paul Sapotichne said. “Their energy was outstanding.”

After 1 minute and 15 seconds had passed, Sapotichne called a timeout to settle his players down and they came out of the break at ease. But the Dynamos continued the pressure and it was paid off on the offensive end.

Demitri Fritch scored 13 of his 32 points in the first quarter and the Dynamos jumped out to an 11-point first-quarter lead. While Springdale’s star guard was lighting up the scoreboard, Riverview’s junior guard Gideon Deasy found himself on the bench in foul trouble, which allowed the Dynamos to pounce.

“That defense was a big confidence booster and we practiced all week on putting a lot of pressure on,” Fritch said. “Then once Gideon got in some foul trouble, we knew we had to turn up the pressure a little bit.”

Heading into the break, the Dynamos held a 16-point advantage, but the Raiders knew they weren’t completely out of it. Springdale was getting tired and Riverview capitalized in the second half.

In the third quarter, the Raiders held Fritch to just four points as they outscored the Dynamos, 15-9. Thanny Black hit two 3-pointers and Deasy led the comeback with an inspired defensive effort. When the third quarter ended, the Raiders only trailed by 10.

“We got into a little bit of foul trouble, so we backed off our press a little,” Epps said. “Plus, we were getting tired. But we knew that they were a good team and it was never going to be a blowout. Both teams were going to make their runs.”

The Raiders made theirs in the fourth quarter as Deasy scored 11 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, including a 3-pointer that cut Springdale’s lead to seven in the first 30 seconds of the fourth.

But Fritch woke up in the fourth and scored six points, while sophomore Logan Dexter six of his 12 and the Dynamos were able to hold on for their seventh section win of the season.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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