DOWN ON A DRIVE — Springville Griffin Adam Wolfley takes the ball past a Maryvale defender, during a recent game. Photo by Dave DeLuca.
SPRINGVILLE — A spirited first half made it appear that Springville was about to end their 27-game winless streak in the division, with a contest against Maryvale, on Dec. 17. However, a second half surge by Maryvale evaporated Springville’s hopes of their first division win in nearly three years. Maryvale outscored the Griffins 13-6, in the third quarter that proved to be the difference in handing Springville a 44-38 loss.
“We knew, coming into the game, that we could make it close, if we played our game, and didn’t let them get into theirs,” said Springville coach Frank Noeson. “We did that early on, but in the second half, especially the third quarter, we let them up the tempo and we got sloppy with the ball.”
Springville came out aggressively on defense and offensively, to take a 18-15 halftime lead. The Griffs pulled down numerous offensive boards and converted them into baskets.
Springville’s Kevin Zabawa came off the bench and gave the team a post presence. Zabawa had 4 points, seven rebounds and two blocks, with the majority of his minutes coming the first half. On one possession in the second quarter, Zabawa grabbed three offensive rebounds, before getting a put back to fall.
“Kevin did an outstanding job, in this game,” said Noeson. “He really works hard on the boards. He’s learning how to get good position because, although he’s [6 feet, 5 inches tall], he usually gives up 50-60 pounds underneath. We’d like to see more contributions, from all of our big guys. We haven’t looked for them in the post enough, nor have we been able to score the ball when it has gotten, or even offensive rebounds.”
After getting hurt by 3-point shooting days earlier, against Depew, Springville’s 2-3 zone was much more effective, allowing Maryvale just one 3-point field goal, during the game, and forcing turnovers. The first half defense also saw Springville limit Maryvale leading scorer and reigning first team all-star Ed Smith to 2 points, at the half.
“We were very active in our zone. We were communicating and moving together,” said Noeson. “I think the best thing we did all night was rebound. They weren’t getting more than one look. Our guys were going out to find bodies, when shots went up, not running under the basket.”
Springville’s Adam Wolfley knocked down a 3, to give the Griffs a 21-15 lead, to open the third quarter, but Maryvale would go on a 13-0 run in the frame, to take the lead.
Springville’s Greg Beatty hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to end, as the Griffins trailed by 4, heading into the fourth. The third quarter has plagued Springville all year, as they are being outscored by their opponents 38-15 in the quarter, this season.
“The third quarter seems to be where we’ve struggled the most, in each of the games [this season],” said Noeson. “We really can’t put a finger on it. Teams aren’t doing anything different, out of the half, but we seem to get complacent. If we aren’t the team to start a run, the guys get down a bit. We really need to focus on making sure we take the momentum, early in that third quarter.”
Maryvale continued their success into the fourth quarter, with the run becoming a 25-5 surge since halftime. Springville kept on fighting in the fourth, with a 14-4 run of their own, but it wasn’t enough and Maryvale would prevail.
Beatty led Springville with 11 points, including three 3-pointers, while chipping in two blocks and two steals. Wolfley and Nate Wolcott each had 8 points, apiece.
The Griffins held Maryvale to a season-low 44 points; well below their season average of 59 points, per game.
Springville has averaged 39 points per game, to start the season. Noeson is looking for other players to contribute offensively.
“We’ve faced two pretty tough defenses, thus far in division,” he explained. “Our guys get taken out of their comfort zones, with the ball pressure we’ve faced. It’s tough; we can’t simulate some of the aggressiveness and athleticism that we see, each night in practice. It’s tough to score 40, when we can’t knock down open shots or make put-backs from under the basket. More of the guys need to step up in the scorebook. We can’t rely on two or three guys to be our only scorers.
“We’re getting there,” he added. “Some of the nerves have worn off now, after three games, and we know what we need to focus on.”
Springville hosted West Valley on Dec. 27, in the Emerling Ford Holiday Tournament at 6 p.m.