FRENCH SETTLEMENT -- Dawson Marlow and Brayden Aime stepped out of the locker room to a well-deserved round of raucous applause from their peers in the French Settlement student section.
Those two Lions combined for 29 of their team’s 33 points in the second half, leading to a 46-44 last-second victory over the Springfield Bulldogs on Tuesday after French Settlement managed only 13 points in the first half.
Despite a late resurgence by Springfield’s Cam Fox in the fourth quarter, the Lions forced multiple bad shots, and dominated the backboards as the clock ticked down. Marlow said his squad’s plan was executed perfectly.
“We really had to pick up our defense in the final 2 minutes,” he said. “Our offense got us the lead throughout the second half. But we really had to focus on our defense at that point, and we did it.”
Led by Fox and center Reeves Blankenship, Springfield found the path of least resistance in the first half, running up a 21-13 tally. Marlow and Co. struggled to find a rhythm throughout the first 16 minutes of play, connecting on only 1-of-12 attempted 3-pointers and scoring a handful of buckets in the paint. After a torrid third quarter in which the Lions posted 21 points, Blankenship knew they were facing an uphill battle on the road.
“Coach (Mark) Erdey said we needed to play the hardest defense we could,” he said. “Nobody was really in serious foul trouble, but we did have six fouls, so we need to play disciplined defense towards the end. We hustled throughout the game, but they had benefit of being in their own gym. Any other gym, on any other night, this could be a different story.”
While it was a highlight win for French Settlement, it was an immediate about-face for a Bulldogs squad that was riding a four-game winning streak, including wins over Albany and St. Thomas Aquinas. Erdey made sure his team didn’t hang their heads after the loss.
“You can’t come out of this game (Tuesday) and pout and linger on what went wrong,” Blankenship said. “Coach always says that good teams bounce back and we’re a good team.”
French Settlement will visit St. Helena on Friday. Springfield plays host to Doyle on Friday.
FSHS 46, SPRINGFIELD 44
Springfield 8 13 10 13 -- 44
FSHS 4 9 21 12 -- 46
Records: Springfield 12-10, 2-1 District 9-2A; French Settlement 9-8, 1-1. Up next: Doyle at Springfield, 7 p.m. Friday; French Settlement at St. Helena, 7 p.m. Friday.