The Springville Tigers are heading to the Class 5A, Northeast Regional Basketball Tournament Saturday after defeating Southside-Gadsden in a 44-42 nail-biter Tuesday night.
“I am very proud of the guys after suffering one-point sub-regional losses in the past two years,” said Springville Head Coach Jeff Smith.
In addition, Springville lost to Southside-Gadsden last November 59-52 in overtime.
Tuesday night’s victory gives Springville a 22-6 overall record, and it’s the Tigers’ 14-straight win to remain undefeated this year, 2020.
Springville fans packed the home gymnasium to watch the Tigers win in dramatic fashion, coming back from a 9-point deficit for the 2-point win.
“Our students, fans – they were awesome,” Smith said.
Springville will now travel to Jacksonville State University to face Guntersville (21-8), which beat Douglass High School 89-68 in their sub-regional match-up to earn a trip to the Northeast Regional Basketball Tournament.
Springville will face Guntersville at 10:30 a.m., Saturday.
In Tuesday night’s game, the Tigers and Panthers battled it out in the opening quarter with Springville taking a 14-13 edge by the end of the opening period. The game remained close in the second period with Southside taking a 21-18 lead into the locker room at the half.
In the third period, the Panthers widened their lead as much as nine points, but the Tigers narrowed the margin to six points by the end of the third stanza, 37-31.
In the final quarter, Springville closed the gap to 37-33 with just over six minutes remaining in the game, after Hudson Kersh hit a 3-pointer. The Tigers continued to eat into the Panthers’ lead in the final stretch of the game.
Trailing by only one point and with only 1:59 remaining in the game, Jake Goolsby drew a foul under the basket, but missed both shots at the foul line. However, Goolsby returned to the line only seconds later, nailing both shots and knotting the game at 42-42 with only 1:29 remaining.
With only double-digit seconds remaining, the Tigers fed the ball inside to Bianchi. The Tigers inside man bobbled the ball, but regained control of the round ball and pitched it back out to Kersh, who made a quick move and hit a short jumper to give Springville a 44-42 edge with only seven seconds left on the clock.
On their final possession, the Panthers moved the ball beyond half court before calling time out with only 2.4 seconds remaining in the game.
When the ball went back into play, Chris Lengyel, the top scorer for Southside with 11 points, took a shot from the 3-point range for the win. However, Lengyel missed the basket, and the Tigers secured their sub-regional championship win.
“This was a very happy ending for us,” Smith said.
Smith said his players are very competitive and hate to lose. The Tigers were able to make the plays needed for the win.
Bianchi was the top scorer of the game, netting 22 points and grabbing six rebounds for Springville.
Hudson scored 12 points, made six assists and two steals in the win.
Pearson Baldwin and Goolsby added four points each in the win, and Garrett Howard scored two points against Southside.