Wildcats lose heartbreaker to Glenwood

Published 10:29 pm Friday, February 3, 2023

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The Springwood Wildcats lost a 58-57 heartbreaker to the Glenwood Gators on Friday in the area tournament.

The game came down to one last possession, but the Wildcats couldn’t score.

Despite the loss, Springwood head coach Lisa Sampson was pleased to see her team turn things around after the blowout loss to Lee-Scott on Thursday.

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“I’d like to say it’s all coaching, but it tells a lot about them,” Sampson said.

“They’re tough, and they’re willing to just get better. I’m proud of them.”

The first quarter was Springwood playing at its best as Daniel Westbrook had four points to start the game to give the Wildcats a 4-2 lead early on.

After being down 5-4, Springwood marched to a 9-o run thanks to baskets from Daniel and Eli Westbrook.

The Gators came fought back in the final seconds, and Glenwood’s River Baker hit a three at the buzzer to close Springwood lead to 13-11.

Glenwood’s defense started to get its feet going in the second quarter, but neither team was going to give up the lead.

Springwood came out firing at the start of the second quarter with baskets from Daniel Westbrook, Micah Thomas and Anthony Keafer to take a 20-11 lead early on.

Glenwood went on a 15-6 run to tie the game up at 26 with a minute left in the half.

Glenwood took the lead with 20 seconds left, but Eli Westbrook drew a foul and hit both free throws to tie the game at 28 at halftime.

Daniel Westbrook was the leading scorer at halftime with 11.

The third quarter was a back and forth battle that featured three lead changes, and neither team led by more than three points until Glenwood’s Lukas Holman hit a three at the buzzer to give the Gators a 46-40 lead at the end of the quarter.

The Wildcats wouldn’t go away in the fourth quarter despite going down 51-43 early on.

Springwood got the momentum back when Micah Thomas hit a three with four minutes left to close the Glenwood lead to 54-49.

Anthony Keafer followed up with a basket to make it a three point game, but the Gators responded immediately with a basket.

Keafer hit a basket to bring it back within three, and Daniel Westbrook capitalized on a defensive stop with a basket to make it a one point game with a minute and 30 seconds left.

Springwood took its first lead of the quarter when Eli Westbrook hit a jumper with 1:10 left to make it 57-56.

The Wildcats fouled on the defensive end, and the Gators took a one point lead with eight seconds left on the clock.

Springwood drew up a play after a timeout, but the Wildcats turned it over and lost in a down-to-the-wire game.

Sampson explained what happened at the end.

“We called our sideline play,” Sampson said.

“They overplayed it. It’s just tough. With eight seconds left, you don’t have a lot of time. You have time for an extra pass, but we probably should just catch and shoot. We’re still alive. We’re going to play next week, and everything is going to be just fine. I’m so stinking proud of they way they played and how they conducted themselves in a classy manner.”

Sampson feels like her boys gave the Gators plenty of issues.

“I thought we executed offensively,” Sampson said.

“Defensively, I thought we took 10 [Lukas Holman] out of the game as much as we could. It was just executing as a team. I’m hurt for these guys because we were so close, but I’m so proud of them.”

One area Sampson knew her team struggled with was second half rebounding.

“We had kids in foul trouble,” Sampson said.

“We said one shot and we rebound, but they’re big guys. They bodied up on them, and it just is what it is.”

The Wildcats don’t know their opponent yet, but they’ll have to face the winner of AISA 3A region two on the road.

“These guys are ready,” Sampson said.