CLARKSVILLE – Springfield traveled to Clarksville to face off against Northeast in the final regular season game of the 2017-18 season. The Lady Jackets (12-14, 8-8) coasted to an easy 52-34 win over Northeast (6-21, 3-13). The boys (11-15, 4-12) took on the regular season district champions, Northeast (22-5, 14-2), winning a 78-77 thriller in double overtime.
After not winning a district game in almost a month, the Springfield boys came into the Northeast game with intentions of earning a win over the reining region champions.
“We played how we were supposed to play the whole season,” junior guard Adarion Hudson said. “We knew we needed this game to go into the tournament with confidence. Now we know what we’re capable of doing. My teammates look to me in those type of situations. I have to take on that role. I know I can do it, we needed this win and I did what I had to do to take over.”
The first quarter set the tone for the rest of the game. Until the last second of regulation, Springfield had a lead at the end of each quarter, usually three points or less.
Starting the fourth quarter, Springfield led 50-47, but Northeast shot 3-of-6 from the field and 5-of-8 from the charity stripe, outscoring Springfield 13-10 and sending it to overtime.
Springfield’s Trevon Heath busted a huge 3-pointer to set the tone for the next seven minutes of the game.
“Trevon hit a huge three in the first overtime, there were just so many huge plays.” Jackets coach Micah Rochester said. “If we can get our focus on Northwest for Tuesday, maybe we’ll get to come back here next Friday and do it again.”
With 12.4 seconds left in the first overtime, Northeast led 68-66 and Aaron Gardner went to the line for free throws and calmly tied it up 68-68 for the end of the first overtime.
“Coach told me to keep my head up and to lead the team, so I did. I’m so proud,” Gardner said. “Adarion stepped up. I told him we had to finish it, and that’s what we did.”
After the start of the second overtime, Springfield scored first again after Travion Woodard missed a pair of free throw and Gardner fought his way through four Northeast defenders for a defensive board and the put back to take back the lead.
“That was huge,” Rochester said. “The biggest difference is that Aaron played the way he’s capable of playing. He came out and played huge.
“A lot of big plays were made by a lot of different people, but the one that sticks out to me is after we missed both free throws and he gets the offensive rebound. He was the only guy down there and that put us up two. We’re so much better when he plays well than when he doesn’t.”
Following that, Hudson had two huge buckets to make it 74-70 with a little over a minute left. Heath went to put the exclamation point on the game by going straight to the rim, but a foul sent him to the free-throw line and only one made free throw put the Jackets up 76-72.
Springfield added two more points from Hudson at the free-throw line to lead 78-72 with 30 seconds left, but Northeast went on a 5-0 run to make it 78-77 with nearly no time left. It came down to Northeast’s leading scorer attempting a 3-pointer, but it didn’t come off in time to stop Springfield from the upset.
Springfield finishes the regular season in eighth place, in front of Northwest. They’ll host Northwest on Tuesday with the winner of that game playing Northeast on Friday at Northeast.
“We’re going to keep practicing how we’ve been practicing,” Hudson said. “We had a couple of really good practices heading into this game and we’re going to keep practicing like that. We have to use this as confidence. We have to use this as a boost to keep going forward.”
Northeast 34 (girls)
The first half of the girls game looked to be anyone’s game after Springfield led 11-10 at the end of the first and 23-19 heading into halftime. The Lady Jackets outscored Northeast 14-6 in the third and then 15-9 in the second half for an easy district win.
“The last half set a pretty good mood for the tournament,” Lady Jackets coach Todd Babington said. “They played well the first half, we just turned the ball over a lot. We can make whatever excuses we want, but we’re going to play this game no matter what. Whether we’re sick, injuries, whatever.
“We played like that the first half, but we played a lot better the second half. And it’s good to have that taste in our mouth for the next week rather than to have a bad one before the tournament starts.”
This puts the Lady Jackets in fifth place in the district standings behind Clarksville, Henry County, Rossview and Kenwood. After finishing fifth, the Lady Jackets travel to Kenwood on Tuesday for the first round of the district tournament.
“I’m really excited,” senior Sh’Tyah Bowens said. “I’m ready to see how we’re going to play in the tournament. I think the tournament is going to go a lot different. From the beginning of the season to now, we’ve jumped over hills and mountains to get to where we are now.”
Springfield (52) Marina Sherrod 5, Elizabeth Funk 9, Anna Kate Head 5, Sh’tyah Bowens 15, Katie Rhodes 2, Zetta Reams 12, Olivia Tejeda 2, Malasia Sunbear 2
Springfield (78) Adarion Hudson 19, Travion Woodard 2, Aaron Gardner 21, Trevon heath 18, Dayron Johnson 3, Noah Waltz 5, Cole Van Vleet 8