The last time West Creek and Springfield battled on the hardwood, the game was decided by a Noah Waltz’ three pointer as time expired.
While their Jan. 22 meeting was a bit more lopsided in scoring, the Yellow Jackets still relied on one player to carry them to victory. Springfield’s Keimarian Flair dropped a game-high 23 points to lead SHS to a 62-51 home victory over West Creek.
“If I was going to say there’s a criticism about Keimarian Flair, it would be that he doesn’t know how good he could be,” said Springfield head coach Micah Rochester. “He works so hard and does everything you ask him to do. He’s not just been great for us this week, he’s been great for us, really for a year and a half now. I’m really glad we got him.”
The Yellow Jackets dropped their first contest of the week to Henry County at home, but bounced back in their Thursday and Friday games, coming away with wins against Greenbrier and the Coyotes, respectively.
Flair finished with 18 on Tuesday and 13 in Thursday’s rivalry game. The sophomore caught fire in the second and third periods against WCHS, nailing any and every shot within 10 feet of the basket. Despite having the length to match up with Flair defensively, the Coyotes couldn’t stop him from dominating the offensive glass for second-chance points. Flair’s largest scoring outbursts came before and after halftime by putting up 17 in the second and third combined.
The two teams exchanged the lead six times over the first eight minutes. A 9-2 run from Springfield gave the Yellow Jackets an 18-12 advantage by the end of one. Their rebounding efforts throughout allowed the lead to extend to as many as 21 before the fourth.
West Creek battled in the final frame and eventually dwindled the margin to 10 with under three minutes to play. The Yellow Jackets shot 7-of-12 from the free-throw line in response to keep the Coyotes at bay and to walk away with their fifth win of the season.
“I have no complaints as to how we fought,” West Creek head coach Russell Malone said. “I think we played scrappy, we played tough and we had to play against a lot of elements tonight that (were) completely out of our control.”
After dropping a close contest on Tuesday, Rochester was pleased with the way his athletes answered throughout the week. Springfield now holds a 4-5 record in District 10-AAA, and remains in the middle of the district standings with six regular season games to play.
“I was just super, super proud of the way they’ve responded this week,” he said. “They’ve worked all year and kept getting better and better and faced all sorts of adversity…This is a huge bounce back for us this week. Great week, really all around.”
West Creek drops their third game in a row with the defeat. The Coyotes play their next game at Henry County on Tuesday, Jan. 26. Springfield plays against the Wildcats of Clarksville the same evening.
Springfield (62): Keimarian Flair 23, Keyshawn Robinson 15, Jacquarian Collum 9, Caleb Chapman 7, Savion Scott 4, Que’Shon Cromwell 3
West Creek (51): Keith Pace 19, TiAnthony Wagner 10, Andre Wilson-Hall 6, Sean Lafortune 6, Jameel Mann 5, Kayden Pace 3, Jason Timothy 2