SPRINGVILLE - Trailing by double-digits against one of the top teams in class 2A in visiting and fifth-ranked North Linn Tuesday, Feb. 2, the class 1A eighth-ranked Orioles never gave up the fight against the talented Lynx and amazingly worked their way right back into the game.
Give the hosts a few extra seconds, and they may have very well pulled off the stunning victory, too.
“We easily could have folded when we were down 12 in the third quarter,” said Springville girls’ basketball coach Christina Zaruba, as her team rallied to pull to within two points of the Lynx late in the fourth quarter and had the ball for the final shot in the waning seconds before coming up just short in a wild 64-62 final.
“Overall, I’m very proud how the girls played. This was one of the better games we’ve played all year on both the offensive and defense ends. The girls worked their tails off.”
Springville (18-3, 10-3), trailing 60-49 mid way through the final frame, turned up the defensive pressure and forced North Linn, usually a very talented ball handling team, into numerous turnovers that quickly led to Oriole points.
Molly Stamp started the Springville fourth quarter spurt hitting a 3-point shot with 3:58 remaining to trim the Lynx lead to 60-52. After a North Linn basket, Morgan Nachazel added with another trey, pulling the hosts to within seven points at 62-55.
After back-to-back Oriole steals, Springville’s Lauren Wilson scored on both occasions and all of a sudden, the hosts were down just three points (62-59) with 3:04 to play.
Kamryn Kurt hit to free throws at the 48-second mark for North Linn, pushing the lead back to two possessions (64-59), but Nachazel kept Oriole hopes alive connecting for a clutch 3-pointer with 29-seconds left to once again pull the hosts back within two points (64-62).
After North Linn’s Macy Boge missed the front end of a 1-and-1 free throw attempt with 25.1-seconds to play, Springville had the ball for the final shot.
“That last play didn’t exactly go the way we hoped it would,” Zaruba said. “We turned it over and didn’t even get a shot off, but the way the girls fought to get back into that game and even give us that chance to tie or win at the end was amazing, because just a few minutes earlier it didn’t look like there was any chance that was going to happen.”
Nachazel was phenomenal scoring a game-high 18 points while Wilson added 16 more. Grace Matus drilled three 3-point baskets and finished with nine points, as did Savannah Nealman.
The Orioles were back in the floor 24 hours later hosting East Buchanan Wednesday, Feb. 3, and in a hard-fought game throughout against the Buccaneers, battled their way to a 56-44 victory.
“We knew going in that this could be a tough one coming off the emotional loss the night before against North Linn,” Zaruba said. “I thought the girls did a great job of controlling most of the game and exposing East Buchanan’s weaknesses. The girls were exhausted, but got the job done.”
Matus and Nachazel sparked Springville to a 19-13 first quarter lead scoring a combined 12 points before the hosts took a 33-19 advantage into the halftime break.
The hosts stretched their lead to 18 points early in the third and just kept the Buccaneers at bay the rest of the way leading by as many as 18 (48-30) in the final frame as well.
Wilson’s 16 points, 10 coming in the second half, paced the hosts while Matus added 13 more drilling two of the Orioles’ four treys in the game.
The Springville girls got a couple of days off before getting back on the court at Edgewood-Colesburg Saturday, Feb. 6, and after shooting out to a huge 48-13 halftime lead, never looked back cruising to a 66-35 rout.
“We had the continuous close going at the start of the third quarter, and that made the second half go very quickly,” said Zaruba, as her team led 24-8 after one quarter then tacked on a 24-5 run in the second stanza.
“It’s fun watching these girls play and seeing how they are recognizing things on defense just by knowing where the ball is. We were able to work on a lot things Saturday, which will just make us a better team down the road.”
Wilson was unstoppable all game long scoring 25 points while Nachazel added 12 more for the visitors.