SPRINGVILLE — The game had all the potential to be a signature win for the Springville girls varsity basketball team. On Feb. 4, Springville had first-place East Aurora on the ropes for nearly the entire game, but the Blue Devils would catch fire, late in the fourth quarter, to fend off Springville’s upset bid to improve to 11-0 in league play with a 37-31 win.
“Well, it hurts, but there’s a chance we’ll see them again, in the playoffs,” said Springville coach Chris Mathewson, of East Aurora. “The one that hurt more was the first game we played against them, when we didn’t compete and lost by double digits. That one hurt more than this. In this one, at least we competed and gave ourselves a chance.”
The Lady Griffs stormed out of the gates to take a 10-0 lead after one quarter and led 16-5, midway through the first quarter. East Aurora was able to work it back to single digits, by going on a 10-2 run, late in the fourth. Heaven Rollek hit a three with 42 seconds left in the half, to give Springville a 21-15 lead into the break. Tia Woodarek was able to establish herself early and often – scoring 10 points in the first half, finishing in transition and at the foul line. Mathewson noted that his team’s aggressive defense was responsible for the Lady Griffs’ early lead.
“I thought our defense was really good. [East Aurora] runs a lot of dribble-hand-off, a lot of ball screens and we’ve gotten better at that,” he said. They’re really aggressive shooters, coming off those hand-offs and ball screens, so we focused on playing those tight and we did a nice job with that.”
Springville led for the entire game, until midway through the fourth quarter. East Aurora’s Erin Nason drilled a 3-pointer, to give the Blue Devils the first lead of the night at 27-25. Springville had a 5-point swing, later in the quarter, as Erin Kwiatkowski knocked down a midrange jumper and Woodarek stole an errant pass, turning it into a 3-point play, with the bucket and the foul. Springville was not able to capitalize, down the stretch, amid crucial turnovers as well as missed shots, and East Aurora was able stay unbeaten in league play.
“We just didn’t settle down,” said Mathewson, of his team. “We talked about it during halftime; we talked about it during our timeouts. I think [the girls] wanted to beat them so bad that they didn’t put their focus in the right spot. They put their focus on how bad they wanted it, not how hard they had to work. Instead of making the smart play, the emotions took over.”
The Lady Griffs had four players in the scorebook. Tia Woodarek led the team with 16 points, followed by Kwiatkowski with 8. Heaven Rollek had 5 points and Alena Woodarek scored 2. Springville’s 31 points marked the team’s second-lowest scoring night of the season.
“Some of the girls had shots that I’d like them to take; they just didn’t go in,” said Mathewson. “I told them that we did some things in the third and fourth quarter that hurt us, but defensively, we held them to 37 points. I’ll take Erin shooting the corner shot with less than a minute to go. I’ll take Tainne shooting the 3-pointer and I’ll take Tia at the free-throw and on the fast break. We just didn’t convert any of that. Those are positive plays; we just didn’t convert them tonight.”
The loss dropped Springville to 7-8 overall, 5-7 in league play. The Lady Griffs hosted Amherst on Feb. 7.