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HomeUncategorizedEagles Lead Seahawks Throughout, Pull Away Late

Eagles Lead Seahawks Throughout, Pull Away Late

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The Springstead Eagles (1-0) opened their season with a decisive 65-47 win over the Sunlake Seahawks (0-2) at Greg O’Connell Court on Wednesday evening. The visitors played against and were defeated by a Hernando County-based squad for the second time in as many nights.

The Eagles played strong defense for large portions of the matchup but faltered at other times. Head Coach Matt McGarry’s Eagles struggled to a 10-14 record last season, but with many of his players returning, he feels his squad has a bright future.

“We are always defense first, here,” said Coach McGarry. “Any time we can keep teams to single-digit quarters, that is big. Any time we can force a lot of stops in our 2-2-1 press, that is big. Gave up too many points late in the quarters that I wish we didn’t, but we are still a work in progress. We returned a lot of guys from last year, but we are nowhere near an end product. If we can continue to grow and buy-in, I think we could be pretty good.”

Springstead jumped out to an 11-1 lead thanks to an early turnaround jumper by Senior F Nick Cordero, a trey by Senior G Niko Cordello, and a pair of scores by Senior G Austin Nicholson. The Eagles also played phenomenal defense in the early minutes, surrendering a single point over the first 5:40 of game time. The same can be said for quarter number two, where they allowed only two points to the visitors over a similar time frame. During this stretch, Cordero racked up six more points to help the home team expand their lead to 14 points with 1:20 left in the second. Despite this, the Red, White, and Blue went into the half up 27-20, with a score that was closer than the game felt.
“I thought we gave up a lot of opportunities early,” Coach McGarry said. “There was a couple times early in the game where I thought we really could’ve closed that door on them. We let them back in. That goes with inexperience. We are not as inexperienced as we were last year, so we need to be better at that. If we want to be the good team that we think we are and beat the good teams, we got to get better at those things.”

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It was not all inexperience, though. Sunlake SG Jeremiah Brown deserves some credit for almost single-handedly keeping the Seahawks in the game. A freshman in his second game of the season, Brown logged 14 points and a pair of steals over 4:18 of game time spanning the second and third quarters. His team began that stretch trailing 27-13 with under a minute left before the intermission. If that pace had persisted until the end of the half, the Seahawks might have been dead in the water. Thanks to Brown’s incendiary play, Head Coach Michael Davis’s squad fought back to trail 33-31 with most of the second half yet to be played.

“That kid is a freshman, so he is going to be a lot to handle for a while,” Coach McGarry said. “He does a great job of getting to his spots. Doesn’t need a whole lot of room to get it off. [Brown is] a good shooter and he is going to be a problem as he gets older. One thing we are going to have to do is get a handle on that because he could be a problem for us for sure.”

Once the freshman’s play cooled, Springstead’s lead began to grow again. The visitors were held to two points in the fourth period until 1:55 left in regulation and would only score a total of eight points in the final frame. The Eagles outscored the Seahawks 14-2 over this span as their lead ballooned to 17. With under two minutes remaining, Coach Davis’s team did not have enough time to mount any sort of a comeback and the home team left the court with the 18-point victory.

Looking ahead to their next matchups, the Seahawks are slated to take on the Canterbury Crusaders in an early-season tournament on Friday. The Eagles will face the American Patriots in the Holiday Hoopfest on Friday at 6:00 p.m. Coach McGarry will look for his squad to overcome their remaining inexperience moving forward.

Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch is a Graduate with Distinction, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. He's written numerous articles reporting on Florida Gators football, basketball, and soccer teams; the sports of rugby, basketball, professional baseball, hockey, and the NFL Draft. Prior to Hernando Sun he was a contributor to ESPN, Gainesville, FL and Gator Country Multimedia, Inc. in Gainesville, FL, and Stadium Gale.
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