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Eagles pad their district position

Springstead powers past Hernando 53-30 to stay ahead of the Leopards in 4A-8.

By VINCENT THOMAS
Published January 12, 2006


SPRING HILL - The Leopards stepped into Springstead's gym winners of three games in a row, including two district victories. They left demoralized by a 53-30 loss.

A win would have meant a victory over a county rival, but, perhaps more importantly, they would have tied the Eagles in the Class 4A, District 8 standings. Instead, Springstead (11-4, 6-3) opened a two-game lead, and Hernando (6-9, 5-5) was left to wonder how they managed just two baskets in a fourth quarter where they were outscored 21-5.

"Our problems tend to lie on the offensive side," Hernando coach Jeff Laing said. "We didn't make the proper adjustments. We thought we'd see man to man, but they probably knew they couldn't play man to man against us, which is probably why they played matchup against us."

Laing said the Leopards have problems passing inside zones and finding seams.

The Eagles were again led by AB Rodriguez. He led all scorers with what Springstead coach Craig Swartout called "the most quiet 20" he had seen. Rodriguez had nine points in the fourth quarter after struggling early, particularly frustrated with what he perceived as several non-calls by referees. At the end of the third quarter, Swartout pulled Rodriguez aside.

"I told him you're not always going to get every call," he said. "And if he's flustered and frustrated, then the guys on the team are going to get frustrated. He's the leader of this basketball team and the guys follow him. And I thought he came back great from that."

Tim Hennigan was the other Eagle in double figures. He had 12 points, including three 3-pointers.