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With two of its three leading scores in foul trouble early, Springstead leans on Dante Valentine and comes up with an overwhelming win.
By DEREK J. LaRIVIERE, Times Correspondent
Published December 12, 2007
SPRING HILL - Springstead has looked like the dominant force in Class 4A, District 8, and things don't look like they'll be changing anytime soon.
With an overwhelming 71-40 win over Zephyrhills on Tuesday night, the Eagles have wrapped up easy wins over the top three programs expected to challenge the program this season.
Springstead (8-1) was playing for a good chunk of the game without two of its three leading scorers, who were in foul trouble. When guard Nehemiah Mason and forward Dominique Roberson left with six minutes still remaining in the first half, point guard Dante Valentine was expected to shoulder most of the offensive load.
"You're never going to start as fast when you have 75 percent of your offense on the bench," Valentine said. "I always take a little bit of that on me."
Valentine scored a game-high 29 points, forcing eight steals along the way.
Zephyrhills (4-3) had no answer for the heightened pace that the Eagles played.
Leading scorer Tyler Guy had difficulty getting the ball low in the post and faced aggressive defense all game. The Bulldogs center still led the team with 10 points and had two blocked shots.
"We can't take anybody lightly," Springstead coach Pat Kelly said. "Any team can knock you off when you don't bring your A-game."
Since Mason missed time in both the second and third quarters, it looked like his game might be derailed. But the dangerous scorer bounced back and finished with 17 points on the night of his birthday.
"There are still some things I need to work on," Mason said, "but I am very happy to walk out of here tonight with a win on my birthday."