Bulldogs Rally at Broome
In an early season non-region battle between a 3A and 5A school, you might expect things to go one of 2 ways.
Either A) the 5A school’s depth will eventually come into play and the 3A school is worn down and eventually beaten by 40, or B) the 3A school, with nothing to lose, is going to come out swinging and play super aggressively while also emptying their bench in an effort to try and, at the very minimum, compete as best they can if they cannot pull off an upset.
Which one of those came to pass in Tuesday night’s battle between the Boiling Springs Bulldogs and Broome Centurions? To be totally honest, I am not sure either did.
Boiling Springs, playing just their 2nd non-preseason tournament game of the year, had a chance to set a tone early, winning the tip and immediately tossing it over to a wide open Landon Sprouse, who went up for a dunk. The ball caromed off the inside of the front iron and rimmed out, instead bouncing into the waiting hands of a Broome defender going the other way.
That miss set the stage for a very sluggish start on offense for the Bulldogs, which was one of many self-inflicted wounds throughout the contest. Boiling Springs got several good open looks for 3 pointers, but seemed like they were settling for just taking the open three every time no matter their level of confidence. In total, they were 0 for 8 in the opening 8 minutes of the game from beyond the arch.
The young Bulldogs, whose roster features 6 sophomores, 5 juniors, and just 1 senior, managed to overcome that and take a 23-19 lead into the 2nd quarter, thanks in part to 2 of their veteran leaders stepping up.
The first quarter was led by a solid attack in the paint from sophomore Point Guard Jeremiah Favorite – who saw significant playing time last season as a freshman. He was a perfect 5-5 from the field in that time span while also going 2-3 from the line to lead the team with 12 points. The tale of the 2nd quarter – and really for most of the remainder of the game, was their lone senior Guard/Forward Landon Sprouse.
Sprouse went 7 for 8 at the line in the 2nd stanza along with a layup to tally 9 points, which gave him the team lead with 15 going into the half adding in his 6 first quarter points on 3-4 from the field.
Asked about the importance of his trio of experienced returners in Favorite, Sprouse, and junior Reese Walter, who was also a key player in the game with 8 points, tying with Sophomore Power Forward Isaiah Atkins for the 3rd most points on the night, Boiling Springs Head Coach Craig Martin had this to say:
“Jeremiah, Reese, and Landon are all experienced enough to lead. They all understand the expectations we have in this program. It is their job to carry those things out. We cannot afford to wait until next year or the following year. If we are going to have a good season, they have to do it now.”
“Our new/young players have done an excellent job of competing in practice. Pushing that first group (Favorite, Walter, and Sprouse) to be better at the same time. They are a good group of kids and I expect them to get better. I expect the whole team to continue to get better. We really have no choice but to”, Martin added.
While both teams struggled with foul trouble and sloppy turnovers, Broome made a living off taking advantage of the opportunities and mistakes the Bulldogs made. Senior Guard Xavier Hill went to the line 8 times and shot 9-14. Hill led the charge all game long for Broome, leading the team with 23 points despite fouling out midway through the 4th quarter. Two other BHS players – Lance Henderson and Ja’Coreyun Broadus – were in double figures with 12 points each.
As a team, the Centurions shot 18-32 from the charity stripe, with most of that coming over the final 3 quarters. On the flipside, Boiling Springs attempted 25 free throws, hitting 16 of them, led by a 7-10 effort by Landon Sprouse, who led the Bulldogs with 24 points in total.
Things were looking bleak for the Bulldogs with the upset-minded Centurions in complete control until the game took a huge turn. After Xavier Hill fouled out, Broome held what seemed like a semi-comfortable 11 point lead at 63-52. But, over the span of the next 5 minutes, it was Boiling Springs that went on a furious 12-0 run to take the lead 64-63.
Fast forward to the final seconds of the game.
With Boiling Springs holding a narrow 67-64 lead, Broome drove it into the paint and was looking to put up a shot to pull it to a 1 point game, hoping for either a 3 point play or for 2 points and to foul on the other end to set up a chance at the last shot. Instead, Jeremiah Favorite fouled Senior Guard/Small Forward Ja’Coreyun Broadus as he was going up with half a second on the clock, which would be Favorite’s 5th foul. Broadus split the free throws, and ultimately, it was Boiling Springs that got the rebound and held on for the 67-65 win – a result that if you are Craig Martin and the Bulldogs, you will take all day.
“It was definitely an ugly game. We need to do a better job of adjusting to how the game is being called (by officials). That starts with me. I thought our guys played much better – especially better at the end of the 4th quarter, than we had all game. We need to do a lot of things better in practice individually as well as in games if we are going to compete against some of the best teams in the state”, said Martin.
With the win, the Bulldogs moved to 1-1 on the season, and will take to the court at home in Bulldog Arena on Wednesday, hosting Union County with a tentative 7:30 tip off.
Broome fell to 2-3 on the young season and will get back to action on Friday, making a short trip down East Main Street to Viking Arena at Spartanburg, with tipoff tentatively set for 7:30 PM.