Danny Davis scores 16 second-half points to help lift Wildcats to fourth-straight win.
XENIA — If the goal was to peak right before the tournament, Springfield succeeded.
The Wildcats earned their fourth-straight victory with a 76-64 win over Xenia on Tuesday night in a GWOC crossover game. It was one of their best performances of the season — if not the best.
Springfield played in front of a large and hostile crowd on Xenia’s senior night. The Buccaneers’ students serenaded Springfield’s players with repeated chants of “you suck,” during pregame warmups. Xenia’s adult fans chastised Springfield players and the officials throughout the game, accusing the Wildcats of playing too physical and the officials of not calling fouls.
The hostile environment didn’t faze Springfield much. The Wildcats shot 29-of-53 (54.7 percent) from the field and outrebounded Xenia 35-27.
“We had to keep our composure and push through,” Springfield sophomore Danny Davis said after the game. “We had a lot of adversity tonight because the crowd was loud and they’re a tough team, but we just had to push through it. Our coaches kept telling us to keep our heads in the game, and that’s what we did.”
Springfield broke a three-game winning streak for Xenia (17-5), who won the GWOC South this year. It was the worst defeat the Buccaneers have suffered this season. Before Tuesday, Xenia hadn’t lost by double digits since Dec. 5 (a 64-53 loss to Hamilton).
The Wildcats never trailed by less than one point. After Davis hit a three-pointer with about three minutes left in the second to break a 26-26 tie, Springfield never trailed the rest of the game.
“I was just proud of how our guys played extremely well tonight,” Springfield head coach Isiah Carson said after the game. “They kept their composure and stuck with the game plan.”
Springfield led by six points at halftime and quickly extended their lead in the third. Davis hit two back-to-back three’s to open the third. Davis capped off the run midway through the fourth on a basket that gave Springfield a 50-32 lead.
Xenia battled back and cut the deficit to ten points by the end of the third. They then scored the first four points of the fourth to limit Springfield’s lead to 51-45.
But Springfield’s scoring picked up quickly after that. The Wildcats went on a 10-3 run over the next two minutes, capped off by a basket from Darius Harper with about four minutes left. Springfield led by double digits the rest of the game.
“Xenia’s a good basketball team and is going to make their run,” Carson said. “It’s not that we slowed down there in the third quarter, it’s just that they made their run then. After we took that hit, we made another run back. I’m proud of how my guys responded.”
Davis led Springfield with 26 points, while Dae’Shawn Jackson scored 13. Darius Harper added 12 points and nine rebounds. Henry Alexander scored 10 points for the Wildcats.
It was the fourth-straight game that Davis has scored over 20 points. The 6-3 sophomore guard also added six rebounds on Tuesday night.
“We’re clicking as a team now,” Davis said. “We’re moving the ball and getting it inside. We’re playing the best that we have.”
Carson also thinks that Springfield is playing its best right now. The Wildcats beat Northmont 82-58 last Friday to close out GWOC Central play. When the teams first played at Northmont on Jan. 23, Springfield needed a buzzer-beater three to defeat the Thunderbolts.
“Our guys have bought in and they’re defending well,” Carson said. “We’ve got high hopes for this year’s tournament and we like the matchups that we have. We’ve got keep this up and keep being hungry.”
Springfield, the No. 4 seed in the Dayton Div. I sectional, opens tournament play against Beavercreek this Saturday at Butler’s Student Activities Center. The Wildcats (15-7) edged out No. 5 seed Xenia for the fourth seed in the tournament draw on Feb. 15.
Xenia’s first tournament game is Saturday against Northmont at Trotwood High School.
Jevon Johnson led Xenia with 21 points and ten rebounds on Tuesday. Brent Bauer scored 14 points, and Ray James scored 13.
Springfield at Xenia Highlights | TBSN Video Extra