HOLLAND — Springfield shot 60% (29-for-48) from the field en route to a 74-53 Northern Lakes League boys basketball victory over visiting Bowling Green Tuesday.
Bowling Green Mason Roth blames the Bobcats’ defense for giving the Blue Devils easy scoring opportunities, plus Springfield controlled the boards by a 35-25 count.
“Our defensive effort was atrocious tonight,” Roth said. “Our guards did a terrible job of keeping the ball in the middle, we didn’t rebound very well, and that was probably one of the worst defensive efforts we’ve had all year, and it showed.
“They are a good offensive team and if you are not ready to close out, they are going to expose you.”
Springfield is coming off a 57-56 victory last Friday over NLL preseason favorite Perrysburg, and the Blue Devils have now knocked off the two teams picked to finish first and second in the conference.
Springfield, which had four players reach double figures, improves to 8-3 overall and 4-1 in the NLL, while BG falls to 5-5 and 2-3.
Senior guard Will Mays had 15 points and three steals and senior guard Robert Franklin Jr. had 15 points and four rebounds for Springfield.
In addition, senior guard Jordan Combs had a double-double 15 points, 11 rebounds and two steals and 6-foot-5 senior forward Dominic Bracey had 13 points and seven rebounds.
For BG, 6-8 senior forward Jabari Conway had 17 points and eight rebounds, senior guard Brock Hastings had 12 points and two steals, and junior guard Jake Amspoker scored 11 points.
The Blue Devils jumped to a 12-2 lead, but the Bobcats went on a 16-3 run, taking an 18-15 lead when junior guard Brayden Freyman got a defensive rebound and went coast-to-coast for an easy layup with 1:06 remaining in the opening quarter.
Springfield closed out the first stanza on a mini 5-0 run, taking a 20-18 lead. Soon after Amspoker scored on a layup after getting a long offensive rebound to keep BG to within a two-point margin, 26-24, with 3:35 left in the first half.
Springfield went on a 10-0 run to close out the half and maintained a double digit lead the rest of the way, expanding their lead to 71-49 after a basket by Franklin midway through the fourth quarter.
Springfield coach Kyle Linehan says the win over Perrysburg has given his team confidence, and it seems to be building as the Blue Devils are in a first place tie for the NLL lead, but plenty of basketball remains.
“I was fully expecting this one to be kind of a letdown,” Linehan said. “I thought we were a little bit fatigued, but we took BG’s best punch.
“We were up 12-2, and they responded and took the lead and from there I think our guys settled in. You can see the confidence building in our guys and hopefully that continues.”
While Springfield was shooting well, BG shot just 36% (21-for-58) from the floor and made only four of nine free throws.
The Blue Devils were 9-for-9 from the line at one point, but finished 10-for-13, and Springfield committed 13 turnovers to BG’s 10.
For BG, senior forward Evan Brandt scored five points, junior guard Garrett Bateson scored three, Freyman and senior forward A.J. Clemens scored two points each, and junior guard Grant Sonner added one point.
Senior forward Eddie Merrill III scored nine points, junior forward Aaron Adams scored four points, senior guards Marcel Pringle Jr. and Tanner Whitmire scored three apiece and junior guard Izaac Moses added one point for the Blue Devils.