SPRINGVILLE - There’s been no denying when it comes to the game of basketball, the Springville girls have been the best in the state of Iowa over much of the past decade.
That can be a big burden to maintain, but the Orioles seem to relish the challenge each and every season, and it seems the 2019-20 campaign will be no different as Springville opened with an impressive rout hosting Easton Valley Tuesday, Dec. 3.
“We shot light-out from everywhere except the 3-point line,” said Oriole girls basketball coach Christina Zaruba, as her team overcame a bit of a slow start and crushed the River Hawks taking a 71-41 final.
“We went into this game kind of blind as Easton Valley had a new coach and we didn’t know exactly what to expect, but once we got our offense going things really started to take shape and you could see the confidence growing in the girls.”
The River Hawks took a brief 9-8 lead mid-way through the first quarter before Springville (3-0, 1-0) exploded powered by sensational shooting from Lauren Wilson, Morgan Nachazel, Grace Matus and Molly Stamp pushed the Orioles to a 25-12 advantage at the first quarter horn and 42-27 edge at the half.
“This is the first time I’ve seen us score really well in the first quarter,” Zaruba said. “We turned them over quite a bit and were able to get 25, even after starting kind of slow on the offensive end. We broke Easton Valley’s press with ease and that allowed us to get a lot of quick and easy points, too.”
Springville stretched their advantage to nearly 30 points by the end of the third quarter holding a 60-33 edge entering the final frame as Zaruba emptied the bench over the game’s final eight-minutes.
“We had 21 assists in the game, which was Coach Husak’s favorite thing about the game and we had seven girls in the scoring column,” Zaruba said. “Lauren had a really nice game and is now an all-around threat for us out on the floor. She can pretty much do anything and do it well which will only make everyone else better because she sees the floor so well.”
Wilson finished with a game-high 24 points while adding nine rebounds, seven blocked shots, four assists and three steals.
Nachazel tallied 18 points while Matus chipped in with eight more as the team shot 52-percent from the field (28-of-54) and 50-percent from the 3-point line (6-of-12) though were just 47-percent from the free throw line (9-of-19).
“This time we didn’t let the Easton Valley game get away from us,” Zaruba said. “Last year Easton Valley got us and this time we were ready.”
Springville kept the winning ways going at Lisbon Friday, Dec. 6, even with some sloppy early play forcing Zaruba to make a drastic change.
“We didn’t make our bunnies early on and didn’t really seem to want to capitalize on any of the opportunities that Lisbon was giving us,” said Zaruba, as her team quickly righted the ship and cruised to a lopsided 62-27 blowout triumph.
“In the second quarter I had finally seen enough and subbed out my entire starting five and put five new girls in there. We were able to build a lead with that back-up group, too. In the third and fourth quarters, we took over.”
Even with the Orioles seemingly struggling early, the team led 16-5 after one frame though they led just 22-12 with three minutes to play in the half.
“I was more upset because I knew we weren’t playing to our potential,” Zaruba said. “We were complacent in the first half and I didn’t like seeing that from our team. To the girls’ credit, they did turn in around.”
Did they ever.
After the Lions scored 10 third quarter points and trailed 44-27 at the horn, Springville went on a huge 18-0 run to end the game.
“We’re still trying to find the right pieces and where they fit on this team,” Zaruba said. “We’ll get it figured out, but it’s tough being in that process like we are right now.”
Wilson’s 21 points led the team while Nachazel added 18 more to go with eight boards and four steals. Stamp chipped in with 14 points and eight rebounds.
“Molly was dealing with some foul trouble and had a quiet 14 points,” Zaruba said. “That’s pretty impressive for a freshman.”