Sto-Rox pulls away from Springdale in 2nd quarter, advances to WPIAL 2A quarterfinals

Tuesday, February 22, 2022 | 10:05 PM

A big second quarter was more than enough to push Sto-Rox along further in the playoffs.

The ninth-seeded Vikings clamped down on defense and held host Springdale to one field goal in the second frame en route to a 72-46 victory in the first round of the WPIAL Class 2A boys basketball playoffs at Springdale.

Sto-Rox (16-7) advanced to play top-seeded OLSH in the quarterfinals Friday. Springdale finished 11-12.

“We kind of ran out of steam, and they picked up steam,” Springdale coach Kobe Phillippi said about the second quarter. “We didn’t shoot as well as we usually do, and they shot well. They’re a good team that will give OLSH a run. I’m proud of how we competed in the first quarter, but we ran out of steam after that.”

A buzzer-beater by Springdale’s John Hughes tied the score 15-15 at the end of the first quarter, but after that it was all Sto-Rox.

The Vikings racked up eight fouls in the first quarter primarily using a press defense, so with only nine players available for the game they switched to a half-court defense. The moved proved fruitful as the Vikings got into passing lanes to force a multitude of turnovers that led to quick points in transition.

Sto-Rox ended up outscoring the Dynamos, 23-3, in the second quarter and took a 38-18 lead into halftime. The Vikings led by double digits the rest of the way.

“We’re kind of limited in numbers right now, so I didn’t want to keep pushing the issue by trying to keep pressing, but it ended up working out well,” Sto-Rox coach Dwight Hines said. “We played sound defense in the half-court. Our style is our style, so even if we are in a zone, we’re still going to pressure. We have a lot of different schemes depending on the situation. Our guys played heard and with good discipline on the defensive end. Defense can turn into offense really fast if you get steals.”

Corey Simmons paced Sto-Rox, scoring 12 of his game-high 29 points in the second quarter. He was 18 for 19 from the free-throw line, and made his first 13 attempts. For the game, Sto-Rox was 27 for 34 at the line.

“(Simmons) has worked all year on foul shots,” Hines said. “That was one of the biggest things we had to work on as a team was foul shots, because last year (in the semifinals) against Greensburg Central Catholic, we went like 8 for 30 from the foul line. Corey did a great job, but so did our other guys when they stepped to the line.”

Andrew Harmon made the lone basket for Springdale in the second quarter. The Dynamos also struggled from the foul line in the second, going 1-for-7.

Sto-Rox also limited Springdale’s outside shooting. Hughes made the lone 3-pointer for the Dynamos in the final minute of the game.

“We have two guys averaging three 3-pointers a game in Ryan (Reinsfelder) and John (Hughes) and we only got one,” Phillippi said. “That’s normally 18 points, and we got three.”

Logan Dexter led Springdale with 16 points in his final high school game, and Hughes scored 15. Jaymar Pearson scored 17 for the Vikings, all in the second half, and Josh Jenkins had 12.

There were five technical fouls called. Three were on Springdale players, one was on the Springdale bench and one was called on a Sto-Rox player as part of a double technical involving a Springdale player.

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

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