PLOWING THROUGH — Springville’s Erin Kiwatkowski pushes past an Amherst defender, during the playoffs. Photos by Dave DeLuca.
SPRINGVILLE — The quarterfinals of Section VI A-2 playoffs weren’t kind to the Springville girls, as the Lady Griffs fell to Amherst 54-49 on Feb. 20. Springville swept Amherst in two games, in the regular season, but couldn’t make it three, as the Tigers advanced on to the semifinals with a road win. Springville hosted the game, but had to play at the Springville-Griffith Institute Middle School, because the high school gym doesn’t fit the Section VI standards for playoff competition.
Tainne Dallas hit a 3-pointer off a drive and kick by Alena Woodarek that gave Springville an 18-13 lead, in the second quarter. Springville would hold a slim lead into the second half, with Woodarek hitting 2 3-pointers, late in the third quarter, to give the Lady Griffs a 36-34 lead, heading into the fourth. Amherst would turn it on in the final stanza, going on a 10-3 run, to take a 47-41 lead.
Tia Woodarek gave Springville some life, stringing together 6 straight points, to bring the Lady Griffs within 49-47, with 46 seconds left. Amherst missed a layup on the other end, but Alex Allard was there on the offensive glass, for an easy put-back, to make it a 51-47. Springville missed on the other end and Amherst iced the game at the free throw line to prevail.
UP SHE GOES — Springville’s Tia Woodarek goes for a layup against Amherst, in the playoff game.
Amherst controlled the paint with the 5-foot-11 Allard and 5-foot-10 Eternity Jones. Allard had 17 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks. Jones had 10 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. The duo in the post hurt Springville on the offensive glass and grabbed 44 rebounds, compared to Springville’s 26.
“That was big,” said Amherst coach Mike Chatelle, regarding the rebounding edge. “The first two times we played [Springville], I thought they were the tougher team. One of our goals was not to be outworked and out-toughed. Both teams played really hard, but we played tougher than we did in the first two games.”
“We had a huge problem with that,” said Springville coach Chris Mathewson. “The focus, the first two games for us, was limiting second-chance points. They average 50 points a game and both games we won, we held them to 41. A lot of that was because we limited second-chance points. Just didn’t do a good job with that the [third time].”
Springville came into the game after winning two in a row – beating Amherst by 11 and Pioneer by 13. The two-game stretch was one of their best offensively of the season. The Lady Griffs couldn’t carry that over to the playoffs, getting plagued by turnovers and rushing, Mathewson noted.
“We got into a mode where we were rushing everything,” the coach said. “Every layup was rushed; every shot was rushed; every passed was rushed; every decision was rushed. We just couldn’t seem to settle down. Offensively, you have to be relaxed. We had a lot of unforced errors.”
Perimeter shooting kept Springville in the game – hitting 7 3-pointers in the game. Alena Woodarek led Springville, with 14 points and 4 treys. Her sister Tia had 12 points, with 8 of those coming in the fourth quarter. Erin Kwiatkowski had 8 points.
The game marked the final game for eight seniors. Dallas, as well as Tia and Alena Woodarek, have been a part of the varsity program for three years, having been pulled up as sophomores and were a part of Springville’s 2011-12 team that advanced to the Sectional final.
“They’ve improved so much, over those three years,” said Mathewson. “They were role players three years ago, now they’re forces and [opponents] are matching up because of them.”
Other seniors include: Kate Darling, Kwiatkowski, Phoenix Rollek, Frame Chotchoei and Katrina Kerkendall.
Springville finished the season 10-9. The returning squad for Springville next season will be headlined by Heaven Rollek. Rollek, a four-year varsity contributor, will enter her fifth season on varsity.
“I thought we had a great year,” said Mathewson. “Once we got Tia back healthy, we had some diversity that we didn’t have early. It was a good group. They have a lot of personality that has a competitive edge to it. It’s easy to coach that.”