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Central League Playoffs: With future uncertain, Springfield (Delco.) boys shut down Garnet Valley

02/09/2023, 11:00pm EST
By Joseph Santoliquito

Joseph Santoliquito (@JSantoliquito)

GLEN MILLS — No one moved. It was as if Springfield’s Mike O’Donnell was the only one on the court Thursday night with just over six minutes to play in the Cougars’ Central League quarterfinal playoff game at Garnet Valley.

O’Donnell rushed to retrieve his own miss and arced a perfect jumper for another score.

It was a microcosm of Springfield’s night, getting to loose balls before Garnet Valley, congesting the lane on defense, sprinting at the shooters when they squared up for three-point shots.

Colin Treude (above, left) and Mike O'Donnell powered Springfield (Delco.) into the Central League semifinals. (Photo: Joseph Santoliquito/CoBL)

Springfield coach Kevin McCormick called his team’s commanding 48-29 victory at Garnet Valley their most complete game this season.

Buoyed by a game-high 22 points from O’Donnell and 13 from junior Colin Treude, Springfield (12-11 overall) now advances to the Central League semifinals where the Cougars will play at No. 1 seed Radnor on Saturday afternoon.

If the Cougars lost, it could have been their last game of the season. Entering Thursday night, Springfield held the No. 24 spot—and last playoff berth in PIAA District 1 Class 6A. Chester, which is ranked No. 27, still has one game to play, against Chester Charter. A Clippers’ victory would likely bump them to No. 24 and push Springfield out of the district playoffs.

It's a point McCormick made sure his team was very aware of.

“From beginning to end, this was our most complete game,” he said. “Before this, I would say Lower Merion, which we were leading late and lost in overtime. We’re at No. 24 and it’s not a solid 24 until Sunday, when the final seedings come out.

“We need things to happen. We need some help. They knew that (this could have been their last game this season). You saw them play with a sense of urgency. We’ve been playing like that the past month. This was like our seventh playoff game. We knew that there were no more losses left in the tank.”

O’Donnell, Treude, Jake Adams, Luke Biancaniello, Aidan Kreydt, Michael Hoey and Ryan Johnson saw to that. They put the vice grips on Garnet Valley, forcing the Jaguars to finish with a season-low 29 points on a collective 11 of 43 shooting from the floor, including a season-low one point scored in the fourth quarter on 0-for-9 shooting.

“We’ve been trying to treat every game the last few weeks like a playoff game and Garnet Valley beat us during the regular season,” O’Donnell said. “We’re hitting our stride during the right time, and our defense is getting better. That showed tonight in holding one of the best teams in the Central League to under 20 points.

“We’ve been treating every game like it’s our last.”

O’Donnell nailed two three-pointers in the last 20 seconds of the first half, and Treude took over from there, scoring Springfield’s first 10 points of the quarter, which saw the Cougars open leads of 33-18, 35-20 and 28-23.

“When we went back in at halftime, coach McCormick told that if I was open, shoot it, and after the first one went in, I knew it felt good and I kept attacking,” Treude said. “I’ve definitely playing with more confidence and I think we’re hungrier to win. We try to control what we can control, but defensively is where the focus is.”

Jake Sniras led Garnett Valley (15-8) with 11, but there was little of this game Jags’ coach Mike Brown cares to remember.

“I told the kids that we didn’t play well, but we also shot horrendous, that’s not taking anything away from Springfield, Springfield played well,” Brown said. “But you can’t win a game where you don’t make layups, don’t make jump shots, the 29 points is by far a season-low. Springfield played great.

“We earned a bye in the district playoffs and we have to get back to being positive and being a 15-win team, and the team that beat Lower Merion, and Penn Wood and Coatesville, there is a better side of us that you didn’t see tonight.”

McCormick has his team playing their best at the right time of year. The Cougars will try and bottle what they did Thursday night and bring it to undefeated Radnor with them on Saturday in the semifinals. That version of the Cougars will cause problems for anyone.

“Listen, this will be the third time. Radnor is an exceptional team, and we’ve learned something every time we’ve played them,” McCormick said. “I’m just happy for the opportunity to play them. We’re the only one in the state that gets a chance to compete against Radnor on Saturday afternoon.”

By Quarter
Springfield:      6   |  15  |  17  |  10  ||  48
Garnet Valley:  4   |  10  |  14  |   1   ||  29

Springfield: Mike O’Donnell 22, Colin Treude 13, Jake Adams 9, Luke Biancaniello 3, Aidan Kreydt 1.

Garnet Valley: Jake Sniras 11, Max Koehler 6, Ryan Faccenda 4, Logan McKee 4, Quinn O’Hara 3, Jack Krautzel 1.

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter based in the Philadelphia area who began writing for CoBL in 2021 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on Twitter here.

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