Springwood and Beulah face off in playdate

Published 11:47 am Thursday, June 27, 2024

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Springwood and Beulah’s boys basketball teams faced off on Wednesday in a playdate at Springwood. The game showcased a lot of talent, but it also displayed the relationship between the two programs. 

The Wildcats and Bobcats faced off in two 20-minute halves of basketball. The game was tied at 56 once the clock hit zero. The playdate wrapped up with each team simulating different situations that could arise during the regular season. 

Beulah and Springwood’s basketball programs have a connection largely because of Beulah’s head coach Thomas Hill. Hill was Springwood’s football coach from 2013 until 2017. Both of his kids still go to Springwood and play basketball. 

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Springwood coach Lisa Sampson has developed a relationship with Hill through coaching his daughter Tanner and his son Tristan. That relationship allowed for the two teams to match up for a playdate on short notice after the Wildcats had a previously planned playdate get canceled. 

“We’ve known each other for years, and he’s great at what he does over at Beulah,” Sampson said. “Just thankful that we could get these two teams together and just have a little fun playing basketball since we don’t play each other during the season.” 

Springwood has been one of the busier teams in the area this summer with a kids camp, several university team camps and playdates with local high schools. Sampson is focused on rebuilding the team after several key departures. 

The Wildcats lost one of its top scorers from last season in Daniel Westbrook. Westbrook graduated and is set to play at Pfeiffer University next season. 

Micah Thomas started at point guard last season and was the team’s leader. Thomas transferred to Opelika High School. It’s safe to say that Springwood is replacing a ton of talent and this summer will be crucial for the growth of the team. 

“We lost a lot. It’s all about rebuilding,” Sampson said. “It’s all about working on the basics, working on the individual development and just developing team chemistry. I’m really proud of what we did. We’re missing a few guys today…We had a good summer and looking forward to the season.” 

Greg and C.J. Johnson are the only two starters that are returning from last season. C.J. is set to start at point guard while Greg plays more of a big-man role for the Wildcats. 

C.J. led the way in the playdate on Wednesday with 24 points while Greg followed with 19 points. The two are going to be relied on heavily next season both from a production standpoint and a leadership standpoint. 

“They’re great leaders,” Sampson said. “They lead by their actions. They’re always in the gym. There’s nobody that works harder than them. They’re the key. We’ve got some great pieces coming in, but those two are our leaders and they’ll be big for us.” 

Beulah is in a similar position this offseason, with just a few starters returning from last season. Demarion Foreman and Cam Baker led the way for the Bobcats last season and will be leaned on heavily next season. Baker led the way for Beulah in the playdate with 19 points while Foreman added 14 points. 

As a private school, Springwood adds new additions to the athletics program that make an immediate impact. Greg and CJ were those new additions last season. Now, the Wildcats have another immediate impact transfer in Jiovanni Rowe. 

Rowe comes into Springwood with just one year of high school left. He stands at 6-foot-6 and adds size that the Wildcats would have been lacking. Rowe slots in as an immediate starter down low. 

“He came in ready to work,” Sampson said. “6’6, you can’t teach that. He’s tall, we’re just trying to get him to be stronger with the basketball, working on his individual moves and he is doing great. You saw a couple of dunks that he had, the potential is there.”