Danny Davis scores 23 points to lead Wildcats to 81-42 win over Tecumseh.
NEW CARLISLE — Springfield spoiled Tecumseh’s chances of a perfect season and showed dominance over their fellow Clark County Division I team in a nonconference game on Tuesday. The Wildcats dominated every aspect of the game and left Reynolds Gymnasium with an 81-42 win, their largest margin of victory since a tournament win over Sidney two seasons ago.
The ‘Cats shot 35-of-55 (63.6 percent) from the field and outrebounded the Arrows 30-18. Tecumseh made 15-of-43 shot attempts (35 percent) in the game and committed 16 turnovers.
Springfield lost its conference opener to Centerville on a three-point play in the final seconds last Friday, but bounced back the next night and beat Butler by 32. Tuesday’s win helped put Friday’s loss further out of mind.
“We’ve really picked it up for these last two games, and I’m glad,” junior guard Danny Davis said. “We’ve really stepped up our defense. We started good against Centerville, but Coach (Carson) told us we needed to pick it up in the second half or they’d punch us in the mouth, and they did.”
Davis sparked Springfield’s explosive offense on Tuesday. He led the Wildcats with 23 points, including a stretch where he hit four-straight three-pointers late in the first and early in the second quarters to help Springfield build a 13-point lead.
Springfield (3-2) built its lead out to 43-27 at halftime, and then put the game away with a 15-8 scoring advantage in the third quarter. Michael McKay scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half to help the Wildcats pull away. Darius Harper added 18 points for the ‘Cats, and Antwuan Johnson scored 14.
As proud as Springfield head coach Isiah Carson was of the scoring, he was more proud that the Wildcats were able to contain Tecumseh guard Malik Quisenberry. Quisenberry, who averaged 20.5 points through Tecumseh’s first four games, scored three points on Tuesday.
Younger brother Darius Quisenberry had more success as he led the Arrows with 19 points, 16 of which came in the first half. He was the only Tecumseh player to score in double figures.
Davis said Springfield focused on not letting the brothers beat them down the court.
“It was a big key,” Davis said. “Coach told us the Quisenberrys are going to get off on us, and we know they’re good players. So we focused on helpside defense on them. We could have done a better job on Darius, but we focused on him in the second half.”
The second half was a big point of emphasis for the Wildcats. Springfield gave up an average of 40 points in the second half against both Centerville and Butler last weekend. Harper, a 6-9 center, said the team has learned it needs to play better on defense late in games.
“We’ve struggled on defense at times in every game,” Harper said. “We just told ourselves to come out with intensity on defense, don’t give up, box-out, and rebound.”
Tuesday’s loss was the first of the season for the Arrows (4-1). They beat Urbana, Shawnee, Indian Lake and Kenton Ridge to start the year.
Tecumseh head coach Roger Culbertson said the loss against Springfield highlighted problems that had shown up already. Tecumseh has shot no better than 45 percent from the field in its first five games and has been outrebounded in three of the five.
“We’ve got to get to the point that hopefully by the end of the season, we can compete with that team,” Culbertson said. “… We’ve got work to do. We’ve got to do a better job of running our offense, being more patient at times. We’ve shot the ball pretty quick.”
But one loss isn’t diminishing the team’s hopes for a good season. Both Quisenberrys are among the best guards in the CBC, and Culbertson said he’s pleased with the progress of the team’s other players.
Tecumseh is working with several new varsity players. Aside from the Quisenberrys, the other top four scorer’s from last year’s 16-8 team are gone.
“We’ve gotten better, but obviously there’s still a lot to get better at,” Culbertson said. “Hopefully tonight is a wake-up call for us to improve at what we need to improve at.”
The Wildcats play next on Friday at home against Fairmont and will try to get their first conference win of the season. They then play at a holiday tournament at Pickerington North next Monday and Tuesday. Carson says the tournament will be a chance for the Wildcats to build momentum and perform well on the road.
“Defense, defense, defense is our key,” Carson said. “And of course we need to keep conditioning, keep getting better. We’ll keep working in practice and hopefully we can continue to carry out the game plan that we put forward.”
Tecumseh plays at home against Tippecanoe on Friday in CBC Kenton Trail action and hosts another GWOC opponent in Greenville on Saturday.