SPRINGVILLE—The Springville-Griffith Institute boys basketball team dropped a pair of home division contests last week starting with a 77-49 loss to Iroquois Jan. 4 and followed by a 69-43 loss to Maryvale Jan. 9.
The Griffins have moved up to Erie County Interscholastic Conference III and the higher level of competition is beginning to show its wears for a small-school team playing teams with a much larger student population bases. With that in mind, the team has to play near flawless ball to be competitive.
Springville started the season by dropping its first three division games before securing its first division win against East Aurora Dec. 22. The learning curve with a young team takes time and that was never more apparent against East Aurora as head coach Greg Miller had a full week of practice and teaching leading up to that game that surely played a part in the win.
Mason Goodridge has been consistent in delivering between 20-30 points-per-game, while Adam Pruitt has helped deliver a solid compliment to Goodridge under the boards, but almost every other division opponent has more experienced starters and a deeper bench than the Griffins.
The division movement of teams is also not helping Springville’s maturation process. For example, while Springville has moved up a division, Iroquois has moved down. Two teams now on the same level were separated by two divisions just a year ago.
Against Iroquois the teams traded leads in the first half and the Griffins were just one bucket away from tying the contest in the final minute of the opening half. While Springville remained consistent offensively, Iroquois exploded for 49 second-half points.
Adding to the frustration of playing higher-caliber competition with a young team has been the temporary loss of Tyler Kostelny, who was starting to add double-digit points on a consistent basis until a leg injury sidelined him during the Emerling Holiday Tournament. Not having Kostelny’s production has negative consequences from a lack of the points he’s adding to allowing the oppositions to limit their defensive strategies from three Springville players to two.
Head coach Greg Miller has a daunting task in teaching new players multiple systems, while trying to get his players varsity experience in a new division that is certainly a lot more competitive than the old one. Although Miller has already demonstrated what he can accomplish with his team given time prior to the East Aurora win, it is time that is not on his side in the short-term with the team’s next four games within a week’s span.
In the last two contests Goodridge has scored more than 50 percent of the team’s points with a collective 49. Three other players contributed a collective 33 points with totals within six points that include 15 from Pruitt and nine apiece from Mike Sobota and Tyler Atterbery. Alex Fransisco added a collective six points in the last two games with no other player adding more than two.
Springville begins a busy week by hosting its first three contests against West Seneca East (Jan. 12), Chautauqua Lake (Jan. 13) and West Seneca West (Jan. 16) before traveling to Pioneer for a 7 p.m. start Jan. 18. Springville home weekday games start at 6:30 p.m.