In a matchup that saw both teams struggle offensively, Radnor hustled out a close 44-40 victory over Springfield on Friday night. It was an unexpectedly low-scoring and physical game for both teams.
“Tough game,” said Radnor coach Chris Monahan. “We shot, I was looking at the stats, something like 37 percent. We got kids who can shoot, but you wouldn’t believe it from watching the game.
“Kids played really, really tough mentally,” added Monahan. “That’s a game last year we lose. Last year we would have hung our heads, but we hung through and we very good and very tough at the end of the game.”
The primary reason for this was junior forward Mason Ressler, who scored nine points and pulled down nine rebounds, five of which were offensive.
“He does a great job grabbing rebounds and he goes after them with two hands. What he’s got to get better with is once he gets them is being strong with them and fighting through the contact and getting the finishes, and-one type finishes,” Monahan said. “He’s our best player and he needs to establish himself as the best player. Sometimes I think he’s a little passive offensively.”
Ressler agreed it was about staying mentally strong in a game where neither team saw the ball go through the basket too often.
“We just wanted to go out and have a winning attitude, win the game, and go out and play harder than them. Get on the floor for loose, take charges,” Ressler said. “Jake [Bodenger] and I want grab boards, the whole team just wants to grab boards.”
This mindset, in Ressler’s eyes, is what got them the win.
“It was a good win for the team I think we really played well together,” said Ressler, “Even when times got tough we stuck with it and got the win.”
Monahan also pointed out that while his team was not connecting from the floor, Radnor did get to the foul line 21 times, while Springfield attempted just five free throws -- a stat that loomed large.
“Run offense. Catch ready to shoot and shoot your shot with confidence.Then if guys are closing out, get a shot fake and try to get to the rim,”Monahan said. "...We did a pretty good job attacking.”
On the other end of the floor for Springfield, the shots just weren’t falling and Radnor was beating them to rebounds and loose balls. Springfield was outrebounded 25-12 throughout the game and shot 34 percent (15-44) from the field.
The poor shooting lead to the Cougars' lowest scoring half of the season, 16 points on 7-19 shooting in the game's first 16 minutes. Springfield appeared to find its shot to begin the second half and exploded for 14 points in the first four minutes, taking a 32-28 lead into the fourth quarter.
Radnor would take the lead back with physical offensive play, reaching the line eight times in the closing quarter, establishing a five-point lead with one minute left.
Springfield senior wing Kyle Ryan knocked down a three while being fouled leading to a four point play that brought Springfield within one with 45 seconds left. But it would be the team's final points of the game, and Radnor sealed the victory at the foul line.