SPRINGVILLE - Just one minute into their game with visiting Lisbon Friday, Nov. 30, hearts stopped in Springville.
Star Oriole senior Zach March was face down on the court in pain after injuring the same ankle he struggled with during the fall football campaign.
How could the Springville boys hang with the high-scoring Lions now without the services of their floor leader and top scorer?
For head coach Nick Merritt, it was next player in, and that player was freshman Luke Menster.
“I thought all of the guys did a nice job of stepping in to fill that hole when Zach went down, particularly Luke,” said Merritt, as the Orioles not only battled through four incredibly intense and extremely exciting quarters of basketball with Lisbon, but also two overtime sessions before finally succumbing to a narrow 82-80 setback.
“Luke came off the bench and played the rest of the game (39-minutes) scoring a career-high 23 points. To have another game go down to the wire was obviously fun and stressful, but I think it provided our guys with some great experience moving forward. We are disappointed we didn’t win because it was a game we could have gotten, but with it being early in the season we were able to get some things done that we needed to work on and know the experience will pay off.”
After getting off to a bit of a slow start, the Orioles (0-2) caught fire scoring 21 first quarter points and taking a three-point lead into the second stanza.
Springville continued to fly up and down the court getting off shots at a dizzying pace and led 40-32 at the break.
“We didn’t have a lot of trouble scoring, but if you can’t do it on both ends, the offense will only take you so far,” Merritt said. “Lisbon shot the ball remarkably well and despite us being in the lead for a good portion of the game, we couldn’t seem to close things out.”
The Lions closed the gap to a single point (49-48) at the third quarter horn and knotted the score at 64-64 to head into overtime.
Both teams scored seven points in the first extra session before an 11-9 Lisbon run in the second overtime ended the high-scoring contest that saw the two teams combine to tally 162 points.
Alex Koppes led the hosts scoring 24 points while Kyle Koppes played all 40 minutes accumulating 17 points drilling four 3-point baskets.
Bryce Wilson also saw 40 minutes of action and led the Orioles pulling down 12 rebounds while also dishing out five assists.
Springville was at Easton Valley Tuesday, Nov. 27, and in a game that saw the team play well for three quarters, a slow second stanza cost the Orioles in a 66-59 defeat.
“We knew going into Easton Valley that we were in for a tough game as they are one of the favorites on that side of the conference,” Merritt said. “Unfortunately, we did not get off to a very strong start as Easton Valley hit a couple of early three’s and we found ourselves playing catch-up most of the game.”
Trailing just 18-14 after one quarter, a 19-9 River Hawk second quarter run proved to be too much to overcome even with the Orioles out-scoring the hosts 36-29 over the final two frames.
Kyle Koppes’ 20 points led Springville scorers.