LIVINGSTON – Doyle picked up the pressure in the fourth quarter and rallied for a 61-56 victory over Springfield in District 10-2A play on Thursday.
The Tigers (16-11 overall, 4-4 in district) used a 17-4 run to open the final period, taking advantage of foul trouble by the Bulldogs (13-17, 6-2).
“We got some tempo and got some momentum,” Doyle coach Daniel Kennedy said. “Collin Hayden getting in foul trouble for them was a big momentum swing for us. When he was not on the floor, we were able to be more effective in our press. I thought that was a big key.”
Hayden had 17 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out with 5:45 remaining and Doyle leading, 45-44.
“We had some foul problems early on and that did us in,” Springfield coach John Hii, whose team lost its second straight after clinching the district’s title. “You look at the bench and I have two subs. When we get into foul trouble, it gets real hairy, real quick. All the props in the world to coach Kennedy and his team, but we did a real good job of shooting ourselves in the foot as well.”
Doyle trailed by eight in the third quarter and five (40-35) entering the fourth quarter.
Cameron Jones started the comeback with a 3-pointer from the left wing with 7:44 and gave the Tigers their first lead since the first quarter at 43-42 with a layup at the 6:05 mark. Bo Ellzy followed with a put back for a 45-42 lead with 5:41 remaining.
Trevor Martin hit two free throws for Springfield to make it a one-point game with 5:20 left only to have Hayden foul out on the ensuing Doyle possession.
Jones made a pair free throws and then scored in transition off a pass from Eli Dawsey to extend the Tigers’ lead to 52-44 at the 2:32 mark.
“That and our crowd really helped out with the momentum of the game,” Jones said of the Tigers’ pressure. “It started to shake them up a little bit. None of us wanted to lose. We knew they had some players who couldn’t handle the ball that well and we kind of pressured them and forced them to make turnovers.”
Springfield got to within 54-50 on a 3-pointer by Martin from the right corner with 1:15 left. But Dawsey answered with a layup and Jacob Bowen added a 3-pointer from the right side to make it 58-53 with 26 seconds remaining.
Jones finished with a game-high 18 points with 12 coming in the fourth quarter. Dawsey contributed 15 points.
Kennedy said he thought rebounding, especially in the second half, was another key to the win.
“I thought, even in the first half, we competed well, and kept Bryce Johnson off the boards,” Kennedy said of Johnson who was held to six points. “He is a really, really good player and I thought we did a good job of keying on him and keeping him off the offensive boards.”
Doyle led 6-0 on a put back from John Barrios with 5:30 remaining in the first quarter and the Tigers held a 12-8 lead going into the second quarter on a put back from Andrew Yuratich with 2:04 left.
Springfield took a 20-12 lead on 3-pointers from Jacob Bowen and Johnson on consecutive possessions extend the Bulldogs’ lead to 20-12 with 6:08 remaining in the half. Another 3-pointer by Bowen made it 28-20 with the Bulldogs’ lead growing to 29-22 at halftime.
“During that stretch, we rebounded the ball fairly well,” Hii said. “We moved it on offense, and we had all the guys we wanted on the court. But we are a different team when we get into foul trouble. Whenever the extra ballhandler (Hayden) came out of the game, we got into a little bit more trouble here and there and instead of seeing the play, ball faking and doing all those things, we were getting in a real hurry and it cost us.”
Springfield maintained a 36-28 advantage when Hayden spun in for a layup with 3:21 remaining and the Bulldogs took a five-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Martin added 11 points and Ti'shoin Thompson 10 for Springfield which wraps up the regular season with games at Runnels on Monday and Pope John Paul II on Wednesday.
“We hit the reset button and try to get everything together so as we go toward the playoffs, we don’t drop off and we take care of business,” Hii said. “We just go back to the basics.”
Doyle, meanwhile, travels to Jehovah-Jireh on Tuesday before hosting Family Christian in the season finale next Friday.
“You just want to get some momentum going into the playoffs,” Kennedy said. “You want the kids to feel confident and positive about the direction we are in and about themselves. I still think we can play better offensively.
“We didn’t shoot the ball very well from the perimeter,” Kennedy said. “We just have to kind of piece it all together and kind of be positive, be together and be one team with the same focus and goal. If we do that, we will finish strong.”
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