Spartans take advantage of changing Riders

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By ERIC CLUTTER | CORRESPONDENT

In this transition season for the Kent Roosevelt basketball team, first-year head coach Ben Dunlap on many nights does not know what he'll get from his team offensively, defensively or both.

Friday night at Springfield, Dunlap saw plenty of missed shots on the offensive end of the floor and a leaky defense at the other end as the Rough Riders recorded a season-low 29 points in a 54-29 Portage Trail Conference Metro Division setback to the Spartans.

Roosevelt entered Friday's contest 0-3 outside the Metro, but the co-reigning champions stood at 3-1 in the division going up against the 2-2 Spartans.

But it was all Springfield from the opening tap, as the hosts jumped out to a five-point lead after one quarter and pushed the margin to nine points, 25-16, at the half.

Following a frigid shooting performance in the first 16 minutes, Myles Wright hit a 3-point shot to start the second half, and Joe Watts added another hoop moments later to make it a 27-21 game.

However, Roosevelt (3-5, 3-2 Metro) would miss its next 13 shots from the field, while at the same time allowing numerous uncontested layups on the defensive end. The result was an 11-0 Springfield scoring spree to close out the quarter and the Rough Riders.

"I thought in the second half, we came out and I think we had three really good possessions -- and they might have been our only three good possessions of the game, to be honest with you," said Dunlap. "We cut the defict to (6) and we had the ball. Then it was all downhill from there. We played like we did in the first half.

"We played like we were step slow, couldn't do what we wanted to do offensively, couldn't do what we wanted to do defensively. It was a very, very frustrating night."

Watts was basically the entire Roosevelt offense. The sophomore posted 16 points. Wright finished with six.

"We have been challenging our kids all year to come out and play man-to-man, hard-nosed, tough defense, and tonight they did that," said first-year Springfield coach Steve Shaffer. "It was a total team effort defensively."

Junior guard Jake Kitchen had a big night for the Spartans (6-3, 3-2) with a game-high 22 points and four 3s. Sophomore Colin Floyd added seven layups to account for his 14 points.

"You have to give Sprinfield all the credit in the world," said Dunlap. "They passed the ball extremely well and found the open man and played very unselfishly."

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