Sean Barnard (@Sean_Barnard1)
Control what you can control. That’s the message for the Springfield (Delco.) boys as they make their final playoff push.
The Cougars have been forced to fight their way into the postseason after a rough start to the season, losing their first three games, with a 4-9 record through their first 13.
“Blame it on Coach, ‘cause I overscheduled,” coach Kevin McCormick joked. “We played a very difficult early-season schedule.”
The murderer’s row of games included Downingtown West (15-6), West Chester Henderson (11-9), Coatesville (12-8), and Chichester (17-3), but those tough games started to pay off. After growing battle-tested through this stretch, Springfield began to turn it around, winning five of seven heading into a crucial Thursday night clash with Strath Haven, both teams fighting for their postseason lives.
Trailing through three quarters, McCormick’s squad used those lessons learned from earlier in the season, clawing their way to a 46-39 victory over the Panthers to greatly improve their odds of extending their season deeper into February.
Colin Treude (above) had 16 points in Springfield's win over Strath Haven. (Photo: Sean Barnard/CoBL)
Springfield (Delco.) (10-11, 9-6 Central League) entered the matchup sitting in fifth place in the Central League, their win locking up a spot in the league’s six-team playoffs. More importantly, it provided a major boost to their District 1 6A hopes: coming into the matchup they were ranked 26th in the unofficial PIAA District 1 6A rankings, two spots out of the district playoff field.
Following the gritty win, they climbed to 23rd, with one game to play.
“We’re just trying to play for that Central League playoff spot, hopefully get into Districts, and then let’s just get some wins from there,” junior forward Colin Truede said.
Treude played a vital role in the victory, tallying 16 points along with a team-high nine rebounds. He made his impact especially felt on the defensive end, where his length and ability to defend without fouling bothered Strath Haven in a major way. He also flashed a willingness and ability to create his own shot when the team needed.
“He’s really just scratching the surface,” McCormick said of Treude. “I think his upside potential is phenomenal. Some college is going to recruit him and over the next four years, he is just going to explode.”
Springfield was led in scoring by Michael O’Donnell who tallied 21 points on the night. McCormick also credited his ability to impact the game beyond the scoresheet and how the attention he drew opened things up for the rest of the team.
“He's such a great score, he's such a great teammate, he's such a great leader,” junior Colin Treude said of O’Donnell. “I love playing with him. I’ve played with him for a long time and it’s very easy to win when you have a kid like him on the team.”
While the success of that duo was the driving force, the victory was no easy task for Springfield (Delco), which was facing an equally-desperate team in Strath Haven (9-12, 5-10). While the Panthers were out of the Central League playoff picture, they’re right on the bubble of the District 1 5A playoffs, now 13th in the unofficial rankings, one spot out of the 12-team field.
Haven was led in scoring by Jaden Jeuregui, the Union College commit finishing with 23 points, the only member of the Panthers to crack double figures.
“We know that Strath Haven is a really good team with very good athletes and good coaching,” McCormick said. “And they were playing with the same sense of urgency that we are.”
The Panthers mixed in a full-court press and a variety of effective traps in the halfcourt which caused issues for Springfield (Delco.), forcing 11 total turnovers on the night. Haven carried a 32-26 lead after the third quarter and looked to be in the driving seat to pick up the win. However, the tides turned late in the fourth quarter.
Springfield picked up its defensive intensity and managed to create some fastbreak opportunities. A 3-pointer from Mike Hoey with 3:01 left in the game gave Springfield a 39-37 lead after an evenly fought quarter. From here it was the defensive heroics of Jack Adams, who secured a ridiculous three steals in the final three minutes alone, to help drive things home.
“I knew that we were gonna step it up,” Treude said. “We were gonna kick it in. I have confidence in every single guy and I knew we were gonna kick it in.”
While Springfield (Delco.) seems to be in good position with one game left to play, there will be plenty of eyes on their matchup with Penncrest (4-16, 2-13) on Tuesday, in which a victory should be enough to pave the postseason path for the Cougars. They won’t know for sure whether they qualify until the District 1 meeting on February 12.
Springfield will do their best not to get caught up in the what-if’s and remain a level mindset.
“Anything can happen,” McCormick said. “All we can control is winning our games.”
Springfield: 12 | 9 | 5 | 20 || 46
Strath Haven : 9 | 10 | 13 | 7 || 39
Springfield: 16-45 FGA (7-16 3PA) 7-11 FTA
Strath Haven: 14-37 FGA (7-14 3PA) 4-4 FTA
Springfield: O’Donnell 21, Treude 16, Flaherty 3, Hoey 3, Adams 2, Kreydt 1
Strath Haven: Jaurgui 23, Jones 7, Edwards 3, Nangle 2, Reid 2, Connor 2
Tag(s): Home Josh Verlin High School Boys HS Central League (B) Springfield (Delco.) Strath Haven