It has been a solid season for the Springstead boys and girls basketball teams, and they both got off to a strong start in 2017.
In the middle of the week, the boys held the second annual Springstead New Year’s Shootout, and the Eagles came away with a championship trophy.
“It’s a huge accomplishment, especially because we’re such a young team. We have five juniors and two sophomores playing bigtime minutes,” Springstead head coach Matthew McGarry said. “Any time you go into a tournament and win it, it’s good for the future.”
On Monday, the Eagles (9-5) defeated Lecanto, 77-46. Noah Torkelson scored 18 points while Glenn Burchfield added 15, as the two seniors combined to knock down eight 3-pointers. Robert Gomez and Johnny Parker added 11 points apiece.
The following day, Springstead squeaked out a 66-65 victory over Ridgewood. Torkelson poured in 20 points and the sophomore Gomez chipped in 19. Parker totaled 11 points and 13 rebounds.
“Everything starts and ends with defense for us. We’re a pressure basketball team,” McGarry said. “We’ve dropped a couple of close ones. We haven’t gotten beaten up too bad yet. We’re 2-0 in 2017. That’s what I keep telling these guys.
“I think it’s big. Ridgewood is one of the better teams we’ve beat all season. Moving forward, we’ve got three district games coming up in a row and we need them. To beat Ridgewood in a tough, close game, I think it bodes well for us.”
Springstead’s girls are coming off their first winning season in over 20 years and their first regional appearance ever, and are attempting to achieve their initial back-to-back campaigns over .500.
So far, the Lady Eagles are 8-3, following Thursday’s 58-43 win at Nature Coast. Kyanah Spencer scored 18 points, while Sarah Vo added 14 and Tierra Houston had 11. Vo additionally had seven assists and seven steals.
“The whole season has been a process,” Springstead head coach Jay McNerney said. “I told people early this was going to be my most challenging year as a coach, because I felt we had the talent to win, I just had to find a way to put the pieces together.”
The Lady Eagles have had to play recently without their leading scorer, junior guard Reagan Huden, who hyperextended her knee. In eight games this season, she’s averaging 19.1 points and 4.6 steals. Aside from surviving her absence, McNerney was impressed with his team’s serious attitude heading into the Nature Coast contest.
“We’ll get Reagan back next week and I think we’ll be tough to beat,” McNerney said.
Hernando Christian Academy’s girls basketball team remained unbeaten and produced a record-breaking performance on Friday night.
First on Thursday, the Lady Lions (14-0) won at Tampa Adventist Academy, 55-29. Then on Friday, HCA thumped Class 2A, District 4 rival Tampa-Bayshore Christian, 74-44, moving to 6-0 in the district. That point total eclipsed the team record of 73 established in 2008 in a win over Dunnellon Christian.
Cayla Phillips also set a single-game scoring record with 33 points, knocking down a jump shot with four seconds left to set both marks. The previous high was 32 points by Courtney Crawford.
Nature Coast’s boys stayed undefeated, as well, registering two wins during the week. The Sharks (16-0 overall, 7-0 6A-7) downed Weeki Wachee on Tuesday, 78-37, and Ridgewood on Friday, 69-56.
Central (7-7 overall, 5-2 6A-7) had an up-and-down week, dropping a 61-58 contest to Citrus on Tuesday but bouncing back with a 50-48 triumph over Crystal River on Friday as the Bears attempt to remain in second in the district.
Weeki Wachee’s girls won twice over district and county rivals, topping Nature Coast on Tuesday, 35-26, and Hernando on Friday, 42-29. The Lady Hornets are now 14-5 overall and 7-2 in 6A-7 action.
The Lady Leopards (10-5 overall 4-4 6A-7) also lost to first-place Crystal River on Wednesday, 52-47.
In boys soccer, Weeki Wachee blanked Central on Tuesday, 8-0, with Bailey Hypes and Maikol Santana each scoring two goals apiece. The Hornets (7-3-5 overall, 6-2-4 3A-7) tied Lecanto on Friday, 3-3, with Harry Flanagan scoring twice and Hypes adding another goal.
Follow Chris Bernhardt Jr. on Twitter @cpbernhardtjr.