The Yellow Jackets are no strangers to poor starts during the basketball season. However, a flip of the calendar might have been all Springfield needed to turn their team around.
Last year saw SHS begin the year with a 3-11 record before rattling off nine of their 12 wins in 2020. The Yellow Jackets started this year winless in their first four games, but have since won two of their first three in the new year. Their most recent victory came at the expense of Montgomery Central on Friday, Jan. 8 by a final score of 64-46.
“This is a talented team,” said Springfield head coach Micah Rochester. “From the get go, we have a lot of different guys that can score the basketball. We have a lot of good pieces and guys that can shoot it. I don’t think we’re maybe as deep as we were last year, so I think health is key for us and making sure we’re staying conditioned, rested and things like that.”
The Yellow Jackets opened the contest with a 12-4 run in the first and rattled off 10 of the first 11 points in the second to seemingly gain control, but the Indians’ diverse scoring before halftime allowed them to remain in striking distance.
Springfield dominated the glass in the third, hauling in the first eight boards of the period and finishing with 15 rebounds before the fourth. The Yellow Jackets’ response on the glass in the third opened up scoring opportunities, as they outscored Montgomery Central 20-4 in the period. The Indians’ largest scoring period came in the fourth, with Asante Wimberly totaling 10 of his 19 points in the last eight minutes of action.
In their first game back this year, Montgomery Central head coach Mike Brown expressed his concern on the conditioning aspect of their return from hiatus.
“In my opinion, it takes a long time to get in shape, but it does not take long to get out of shape,” he said. “You could get out of shape pretty quick, so I think that’s a factor. The layoff hurts teams and it hurts us. I can’t speak for other teams but, in the conditioning, it’s tough.”
SHS earned their second district victory of the week with the win. The Yellow Jackets aim to stay afloat in the highly competitive District 10-AAA, something that Rochester believes to be accomplishable throughout the remainder of the season.
“No disrespect to anybody, but Rossview, Northeast and Clarksville are really, really good basketball teams. Kenwood is very athletic and, another thing, Henry County is really good. We still have a ways to go, I think, to play to their level.
“I think we can get there, but we have to keep wanting to compete every day and wanting to get better. Hopefully, this will give our guys the confidence and a reminder of how we want to do things and that we can build off of it.”
Springfield’s next district test comes at home against Rossview on Jan. 12. The Hawks will host Montgomery Central the night before.
Springfield (64): Keimarian Flair 20, Keyshawn Robinson 10, Savion Scott 10, Jacquarium Collum 8, Caleb Chapman 6, Caden Duke 3, Reggie Pierre Jules 3, Que’Shon Cromwell 2, Alamie Hudson 2.
Montgomery Central (46): Asante Wimberly 19, Tyrone Hite 11, Erik Owen 8, Josiah Rankhorn 4, Hayden Boyd 2, Ty Rouse 2.