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Eagles eke by district foe

The victory keeps Springstead unbeaten in Class 4A, District 8.

By KELLIE DIXON
Published January 17, 2007


SPRING HILL - Springstead's 48-43 win over Pasco on Tuesday was the Eagles' second straight close district win.

But the five-point victory didn't stress out Springstead coach Craig Swartout the same way the Eagles' slim win against Hernando last week did.

That might be because Tuesday, Swartout saw some growth in his squad, which has been struggling with team chemistry, before tipoff. Swartout addressed the Eagles 15-3, 11-0 Class 4A, District 8 in the locker room before the game, and he gave them a choice. The players could step up and play like the Springstead that started the season on a tear, or they could settle for the squad that barely showed up against Hernando and won by three.

"We had a heart to heart," Swartout said. "Sometimes it's not what you want to hear, but we've got to look each other in the eye and say it. We're family."

Senior forward Jeff Haynes said the team readily accepted the challenge.

"Everybody understood what he was saying," Haynes said. "

The Eagles came out of the locker room jazzed, ready for the Pirates. But Pasco (11-6, 7-4) didn't let Springstead cling to that warm-and-fuzzy feeling for long.

Pasco capitalized on a sluggish Springstead start, which is standard for the Eagles, and built a lead. The Eagles answered with a 20-7 run in the second quarter, thanks largely to the shooting of junior guard Nehemiah Mason. Mason hit three 3s and scored 11 of his 17 points in the quarter.

Despite 11 turnovers in the third quarter, Springstead held onto the lead and went 8-of-9 from the foul line in the final eight minutes to seal the game.

Demetrious Larry led Pasco with 17 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter as he tried to help the Pirates rally.

Kellie Dixon can be reached at kdixon@sptimes.com or (352)544-9480.