SPRINGFIELD – Springfield girls basketball coach Billy Dreher knows his team is still a work in progress, but things may be starting to come together at the right time for the Lady Bulldogs.
Springfield used a big run that spanned the second and third quarters to pull away for a 62-33 non-district win over St. John of Plaquemine Wednesday at Springfield.
“That was probably one of our better complete games, definitely three quarters,” Dreher said after his team moved to 14-6, eclipsing last season’s win total. “When we had our main players in there, we were jelling and hitting a bunch of shots, which sometimes doesn’t happen for us. Maddie (Ridgedell) had her best game of the year, and then Destiny (Reed) was hitting shots. On defense, everyone was working hard a rotating. We did really good job, except for a few fouls early in the game to get them in the bonus too early, but I couldn’t be more pleased with how we played tonight.”
The Lady Bulldogs led 14-8 at the end of the first quarter before the Lady Eagles got within 16-12 on a pair of free throws.
From there, Springfield took advantage of St. John turnovers after turning up the defensive pressure, and consecutive 3-pointers from Ridgedell and Reed stretched the lead to 30-14.
Reed led the Lady Bulldogs with 22 points, while Ridgedell added 13, seven of which came in the second quarter as eight players scored for Springfield.
“It’s just so fun just to see us pass the ball, swing it a lot, score, hurry up and get into our press and just keep going,” Ridgedell said of the team’s transition game. “We’re starting to work on it. We’re playing with more (confidence). We’ve been working on it all season, and just being able to do this now, it just helps a lot.”
St. John hit a free throw with 3:27 to play in the third quarter for its final point for what turned into a prolonged stretch as Springfield led 35-15 at halftime.
Jamiracle Joseph’s inside basket put the Lady Bulldogs ahead 43-15 before St. John’s J’Nyria Kelly hit a basket to end a 13-0 run.
St. John cut the lead to 43-19 on a pair of Kelly free throws, but the Lady Bulldogs took advantage of turnovers to key a run that put them ahead 57-22 heading into the fourth quarter.
“Their strength was kind of their big person (Kelly) inside, and so we knew that we kind of had to jump on their guards a little bit and keep it out of her hands,” Dreher said. “We’re going to see great guards every night in district play. That’s the true test of where our defense is, and being a little out of position. You get exposed when you start to play the really good teams, and that’s why you have to kind of preach it over and over and over in practice and against no matter who you’re playing about being in proper position … and so hopefully we can continue that as we play a very good team (French Settlement) Friday.”
Kelly finished with 17 points, six of which came in the third quarter.
Both teams went to their benches in the fourth quarter as St. John outscored Springfield 11-5.
“That’s a solid ball club that we had to play, and they did what we needed to do,” Dreher said. “I couldn’t be happier going into our next few games, which are going to be very difficult.”