With newfound focus and depth, Springdale boys ready to make deep playoff run

Saturday, December 5, 2020 | 6:56 PM

The Springdale boys basketball team came out of nowhere last season.

Led by junior guard Demitri Fritch, who scored 24.7 points per game, the Dynamos cruised to a 20-4 record, scoring 63.6 points per game, and were on the verge of making their first WPIAL semifinal appearance since 1991.

It was a historic season for Springdale, but the Dynamos feel they came up short. Springdale believes it lacked the focus needed in order to fulfill its ultimate goal.

In the WPIAL quarterfinals, the Dynamos lost to Winchester Thurston, a team it defeated three times in the regular season. Looking back, they feel a lesson was learned.

“That was mainly because we didn’t come focused,” junior guard Logan Dexter said. “We beat Winchester Thurston three times in the regular season, and then lost that game. Like we shouldn’t have lost that game. This year, we just have to push through that and make a long run. It’s good we did that last year, so we know what to build off of.”

Luckily for the Dynamos, everyone is back this season. Along with Fritch, Dexter comes back after averaging about 16 points and nine rebounds last season. Coach Aaron Epps also returns starters in senior Ben Myford, junior Ryan Reinsfelder and freshman point guard Chris Mitchell. Senior Logan Reddinger (6-foot-4) also is back after being Springdale’s six-man last season.

Epps said the Dynamos are working on their depth this season. Freshmen Billy Lawrence, who scored a team-high 20 goals for the soccer team this season, and John Hughes, a transfer from St. Joseph, along with junior John Utiss could play roles.

“We really have to develop a bench,” Epps said. “Last year, we were six deep and that was it. So this year, we are really trying to play more kids, but you have to trust them. I’ll play five if that’s all I trust. They just have to build that trust with me.”

With no seniors on the team last year, the Dynamos were able to gain experience and still had success. Dexter and Fritch were the go-to scorers, but someone new could step up on any given night.

Against Sewickley Academy in the first round of the playoffs, Dexter scored 18, Myford chipped in with 14 and Reinsfelder hit five 3-pointers for 15 points.

It was a next-man-up type of mentality.

“I think that was big for us because we got a look at the playoffs, and we made it to the second round last year. So that’s good,” Dexter said. “That was the first playoff game for a lot of us as starters, so we got a lot of experience out of it.”

The Dynamos were a surprise last season. That will change this season, but they aren’t going to shy away from anyone. Epps put together the toughest nonconference schedule he could.

“We’re playing the toughest non-conference schedule you can imagine, and we did it on purpose,” Epps said. “When you’re beating people a lot and you’re winning 30 point games, they (the players) get a false sense of security. So, I wanted them to really have to pay attention to details, and when you’re playing teams like Mars, that’s what you have to do.”

Epps said Springdale scheduled North Catholic, South Allegheny, Mars, Kennedy Catholic, Deer Lakes and Jeannette.

“We’re playing everybody,” Epps said.

By the time the playoffs come around, the Dynamos will be battled tested, and they hope it leads to a deeper postseason run.

Springdale boys at a glance

Coach: Aaron Epps

Last year’s record: 20-4 (13-1 Section 1-2A)

Returning starters: Demitri Fritch, Sr., G; Ben Myford, Sr., G/F; Logan Dexter, Jr., F; Ryan Reinsfelder, Jr., G; Chris Mitchell, So., G

Top newcomers: John Uttis, Jr., F; Billy Lawrence, Fr., G; John Hughes, Fr., F

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


More Basketball

Hall of fame basketball coach Joe Lafko steps down at Hampton
Corey Dotchin steps down as Highlands boys basketball coach
PIAA taking bids to host basketball championships
Basketball coach Rob Niederberger, who lifted Shaler from last place to WPIAL contender, resigns
Penn Hills senior joins Point Park basketball at exciting time