SPRINGFIELD – Timing is everything, and much of it was in favor of the Springfield which defeated French Settlement, 72-59, in the District 10-2A opener for both teams.
It marked the end of a six-game losing streak, and with 5:27 to play in the third quarter, senior Bryce Johnson scored the 1,000th point of his career. He finished with a game-high 22 points.
“I thought about it for a little bit, but the important thing was that we won the game,” Johnson said. “It all came together for us and we played as a team.”
Springfield (6-14, 1-0) looked like a team on a mission. The triumph ended a six-game losing streak, and more importantly, breathed new life into a season.
“We put it all together as a team,” Springfield coach John Hii said. “Plus, we’ve been really fortunate to have some talented players like Bryce (Johnson). He really doesn’t know how good he could be. It was a phenomenal effort in the game by everyone.”
Springfield also had double-figure scoring from Collin Hayden (19) and Trevor Martin (13).
Springfield returns to action on Friday at Central, while French Settlement hosts Class 4A Assumption.
It was a back-and-forth affair early in the game with the score tied, 7-7, when French Settlement flexed its muscle on defense in the later part of the first quarter. The Lions held Springfield to one basket for the last half the quarter and much of the second to outscore the Bulldogs 16-9.
However, in the final minute of the first half, Springfield went on a 10-1 run to finish within one point (30-29). Johnson’s basket with a little over five minutes to play in the third quarter tied the contest a 35-35, and Hayden followed with the go-ahead points and the Bulldogs never looked back.
Johnson added a 10-foot jumper for his 1,000th career point.
“I feel like we can capitalize on this game and we should do better from this point on,” Hii said of Johnson.
The challenges faced by French Settlement (7-9, 0-1) were on the mind of coach Roy Moore. Cedric Witkowski led the Lions with 21 points followed by Jonas LeBourgeois with 16 and Edward Allison 11.
“Their big men gave us problems,” Moore said. “We just need to focus and work hard to get better for our next game.”
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