COPLEY TWP.: In keeping with the holiday spirit, the Springfield girls basketball team again learned Monday that it truly is better to give than receive.
During a 47-28 win over Buchtel in the opening round of the inaugural Copley Holiday Invitational Tournament, the Spartans assisted on eight of their first 11 baskets and won their second straight game.
Springfield (2-6) will meet Copley (5-5) in the tournament championship game Monday at 7:45 p.m.
“We have improved a lot [since my freshman year],” said Springfield senior Ally Graham, a 5-foot-10 forward, who collected 13 points, eight rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block.
Graham’s end-to-end push and jumper at the buzzer gave the Spartans a 19-9 lead at the half.
“I expect that out of her,” fourth-year Springfield coach Lori Henary said. “Ally is our senior that’s played all four years. We need that from her on a consistent basis if we are going to be competitive, and she knows that.”
When freshman guard Daichele Hatcher tried to rally the Griffins with back-to-back 3-point goals late in the third quarter, sophomore guard Sarah Treen answered for Springfield.
Treen had 10 of her game-high 14 points in the second half.
Henary was pleased with her team’s ball movement and ability to rebound, especially out of its zone defense.
“In the first half, we made some plays with the ball that we’ve been working on all year,” she said. “Our focus was to stay in our 2-3 zone, limit them to one shot, get the rebound, and then go. We asked our players to box out every possession.”
Springfield led 35-20 after three quarters. Graham’s circus shot at 6:24 of the fourth quarter had the Spartans on top 39-20. Treen followed with her second 3-pointer of the half to make it 42-20.
“I’m trying to get other people involved,” Graham said. “It’s not just about me.”
The Spartans had 12 assists on 18 field goals.
“Last year, we beat Norton, an undefeated team in the league, and we were the first team they lost to,” Graham said. “[Coach Henary] has pushed us to where we are today.”
Hatcher led Buchtel with 13 points, but tweaked her ankle late in the game.
“Daichele loves the game and she plays hard,” first-year Buchtel coach Brian Neugebauer said. “She’s still learning and was part of that ‘didn’t get any middle school sports.’ ”
Buchtel’s roster consists primarily of inexperienced players.
“You have to give credit to Springfield,” Neugebauer said. “Graham and Treen really had good games. We struggled in the first half to score. We didn’t do anything to get them out of their 2-3 zone.”
Copley 48, Cuyahoga Falls 16
Junior wing Bre Moorer sank four 3-point shots and senior post Kaela Drake controlled the interior as the host Indians blitzed short-handed Cuyahoga Falls to advance to Monday’s championship game against Springfield.
Copley (5-5) led 9-0 at the start and 13-1 after the first quarter. The Indians expanded their lead to 28-5 at halftime.
“The last few games we’ve started to make strides,” second-year Copley coach Darryl Anderson Sr. said. “We’re starting two freshmen in the backcourt and we have one returning starter in Kaela.”
Moorer finished with 14 points and Drake tallied 13 to lead Copley to an easy win.
“Kaela [5-foot-10] is strong and physical and doesn’t back away from contact,” Anderson said. “Bre is multitalented. She plays good defense. She hustles, and she’s got a very nice shot.”
The Black Tigers (2-6), playing without injured senior point guard Zoe Bosley, received five points from sophomore Shelby Dieterich.
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