Five Big Things: Boiling Springs Holds Off Hillcrest
One last non-region tuneup was on tap for the Boiling Springs Bulldogs as they hosted the Hillcrest Rams on Friday night at Bulldog Arena. The Bulldogs faced a furious rally from the Rams in the second half, but made just enough buckets in the end to pull out a 71-65 win. Here are my biggest takeaways from the game.
1-Boiling Springs Head Coach Craig Martin was thrilled at the start his team got off to, leading at the end of the first quarter 16-6 and halftime 33-15. What he didn’t know at the time was that he was going to need every bit of that lead to pull this one out in the end by just six points. The Bulldogs offense last night was a heavy volume of three pointers, especially through their leading scorer in the game Landon Sprouse. Boiling Springs as a team hit nine triples in the contest, but it took a little while for Sprouse to find his shot. Once he did, the floodgates were open.
2-Sprouse finished with a game-high 31 points in the win, with 18 of them coming in the second half as his Bulldogs were fending off bucket after bucket on the Rams offensive half. Once he connected on a few from long-range, Sprouse was off showing his ability as a pull-up three-point shooter and strong driving skills. A long and athletic defender, everything in this Boiling Springs team runs through him. Reese Walter and Isaiah Atkins each scored 11 points, which proved to be vital especially in the fourth quarter.
3-Where this Bulldogs team can run into trouble is in its depth. Jeremiah Favorite played only in the second half, and limited minutes at that. Sprouse is going to have to demand so much attention from opponents once region play starts that the supporting cast will have to pick up the scoring when he gets double teamed or taken out of the game. If they can, the way Boiling Springs likes to play on offense with Sprouse driving and kicking to open shooters on the perimeter can catch any opponent off guard on a good night.
4-Hillcrest just could not buy a bucket early on, and then something clicked at halftime. Caden Coleman went absolutely nuclear in the third quarter, scoring 15 of his 27 points in the period with four hits from three-point land. Tray Clinkscales also hit four three pointers in the second half to finish with 16 points on the night. All in all, the Rams made 10 three-pointers after halftime to take a 18 point deficit down to as little as three at one moment. I’m going to go out on a limb that Hillcrest might be the only team this year to score 50 second half points and still lose. If they had even half the success in the first half that they had in the second, the Rams would’ve pulled this out.
5-Heading into Region 2-5A play next Tuesday, Boiling Springs gets the toughest two teams right out of the gate. Home against Dorman and a matchup at Byrnes will be a tall task to even win one of those games. Realistically, the Bulldogs games with Spartanburg and Gaffney will decide where the team finishes in the region, and whether they qualify for the playoffs.