LIVINGSTON -- For a time in the first half Tuesday , it seemed as though the Springfield girls could hang with the more talented and deeper Doyle Lady Tigers. But in the end, experience won out.
Seniors Madison Watts, Jessica Nesom and Grace Wolfe led the way in their last regular-season home game as Doyle ran away from Springfield 67-45 in District 9-2A action.
The win was the 12th in a row for Doyle (23-9, 7-0), which concludes its regular season at St. Helena on Thursday. Springfield finishes the regular season 11-15 overall and 2-6 in league play.
Watts led the way for Doyle with 24 points, 5 rebounds and 5 steals, while Nesom had 14 points and 6 rebounds. Wolfe finished with 5 points and 6 boards.
“It’s really emotional to play on Senior Night since I have been with these girls since 7th grade,” Nesom said. “But it’s not over. It may be our last home district game, but we are planning on pushing forward.”
The Lady Bulldogs stuck around for longer than most though they would in the first half. After falling behind 6-0 early, Springfield battled back, cutting the lead to 10-8 before settling for an 18-12 deficit at the end of the first quarter.
Doyle’s Morgan Blades hit two free throws to give the Lady Tigers a 20-12 lead, but Springfield reeled off nine straight points, six from Sarah Simeon to take a 21-20 lead with 3:58 left in the second quarter.
Doyle then finished the half on an 11-4 run, highlighted by seven points, a rebound and a steal from Watts, who also hit a 3-pointer during the run to give Doyle a 31-25 halftime lead.
Despite the halftime advantage, Lady Tigers’ coach Samantha White gave her team a stern talk at halftime, and Doyle responded by outscoring Springfield 25-3 in the third period.
Watts said the halftime speech was inspiring.
“We just had to come out and actually work harder,” Watts said. “We came out (early) and didn’t have our heads straight, and then got a really good talking-to at halftime.
“We came back out more focused. We had to play defense and play our game.”
Nesom said it was the kick in the pants the Lady Tigers needed after a sluggish first half.
“We got off pretty slow and maybe we were expecting it to be easy,” she said. “They are a good team, but when we push it, we are good.”
White just wanted her team to play with a bit more enthusiasm in the second half.
“After coming out flat in the first half, I told them we better come out better in the second half,” White said. “You never want to let a team hang around.
“Our defense and full-court press helped us out a lot, so we’re really glad when that is working.”
Springfield actually outscored Doyle by six in the fourth quarter, but most of the period was played with backups.
Springfield coach Lewis Inmon said the season-long problem of lack of depth hurt the Lady Bulldogs.
“Not to use getting tired as an excuse, but we just have to work on getting mentally tougher,” Inmon said.
Simeon finished the game as the leading scorer for Springfield with 20 points while Jaila Golden had 13. Kiarra Westbrook scored 9 points and had 10 rebounds and 3 blocks and Golden pulled down 7 boards.
Inmon said he happy with the way his team played hard in the first half.
“I’ve spent a lot of time talking to them about how to handle pressure and I think we have come a long way,” Inmon said. “We competed with them well in the first half.
“I’m proud of them. Doyle is going to win the district and we hung with them, so I can’t ask for anything more.”
White said it was a bittersweet night, seeing her three seniors playing their last home game.
“They do such a good job,” White said. “They all have roles and they all do a good job. We are really going to miss those girls.”
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Doyle turned the ball over 16 times in the game, eight times in each half.
- The Lady Tigers took 68 shots, making 26. Springfield only attempted 36 shots, missing just five in the first half, but 16 in the second.
- Each team made 11 free throws.
DOYLE 67, SPRINGFIELD 45
Springfield 12 13 3 17 -- 45
Doyle 18 13 25 11 -- 67
Springfield (45) -- Sarah Simeon 20, Jaila Golden 13, Kiarra Westbrook 9, Rebekah Currie 2. Totals 15-36 11-21 5.
Doyle (67) -- Madison Watts 24, Jessica Nesom 14, Grace Wolfe 8, Elise Jones 6, Lauren Simms 6, Morgan Blades 5, Sydney Taylor 3, Meghan Watson 1. Totals 26-68 11-17 67.
3-point goals -- Springfield 3 (Simeon 3), Doyle 3 (Watts 1, Taylor 1, Wolfe 1). Records: Springfield 11-15, 2-6 District 9-2A; Doyle 23-9, 7-0. Up next: Doyle at St. Helena, 6 p.m. Thursday.