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Lackluster Eagles squeak by

Springstead, which had lost just three games all season, defeated Hernando, which had won just three.

By DAVID MURPHY
Published January 13, 2007


BROOKSVILLE - The end result, at least in terms of wins and losses, isn't a surprise. Springstead, which had lost just three games all season, defeated Hernando, which had won just three.

But the manner in which it occurred - on a late rally, fueled by key turnovers, highlighted by an incredible block - is the chief reason Eagles coach Craig Swartout was fuming afterward.

"We came out from the first second totally disinterested in playing basketball," said Swartout, whose Eagles went on a 13-3 run in the last 4:22 to steal a 38-35 victory. "When you come out disinterested in playing, this is the kind of stuff that happens."

After taking a 25-18 lead midway through the third quarter, Springstead went on a scoreless drought that lasted until midway through the fourth. Hernando held the Eagles scoreless for 9:16, going on a 14-0 run to take a 32-25 lead with 4:43 remaining.

But the Eagles snapped out of their funk, taking a 33-32 lead with 2:37 to go after Jeff Haynes grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on a put-back.

Hernando senior Ford Manuel hit a 3-pointer with 1:25 left to give the Leopards a 35-33 lead, but Springstead sophomore Ben Noury hit a pair of clutch free throws to tie it with 54.9 seconds remaining.

Then, with 30 seconds left, Haynes recorded a steal that he eventually converted into a fastbreak layup to give the Eagles a 37-35 lead.

The highlight of the second half, perhaps the game, was a block by Springstead center Ethan Selph when he chased down Hernando senior Todd Goetz on a fastbreak and rose high above the rim to swat away a potential go-ahead layup.