NEW MIDDLETOWN — There’s no place like home.
For Springfield Tigers head basketball coach Jeff Brink, he is back home where his heart is and his players are responding with a perfect 11-0 record to start the season.
The Tigers showed how dominating of a team they can be with a lopsided 78-24 victory over league rival McDonald Friday night. The Tigers control the MVAC with a 7-0 record, while the Blue Devils fall to 5-6 on the year, 4-2 in the league.
Although Brink is experiencing a hectic schedule while still teaching at Hudson, he was excited and is relishing the opportunity to be coaching at his alma mater again. It is where he hopes to remain until his coaching career is done.
“I feel blessed,” Brink remarked. “A lot of people never get this chance, and I am very fortunate. I have to thank all the people that have given me this opportunity like the administration. To come home is special. My family is still here in town and that is one of the reasons I wanted to end my career here and it has always been a goal to come back here at some point.”
He added, “It’s special. The community really buys into the school district and its athletics. It’s what makes the cohesive bond that keeps people together especially in today’s trying times. It is something that is special. And to come in here with the kids I have, they are just such wonderful young men, it’s a dream come true.”
The Tigers have been able to pick right up where former coach Steve French left off last year and never miss a beat. A testament to the leadership of the Tigers senior players.
“Things have been pretty much the same with tempo style, up and down the court, play hard, scrap and fight. So that hasn’t been much of a change. We love having coach Brink back here and I know the fans all love having him back here. It’s all very exciting for my senior year,” senior forward Alex Rothwell said.
The Tigers wasted little time taking control of their game with McDonald as they raced out to an 18-3 lead after one-quarter of play. They would increase their advantage in the second frame as they went into the halftime break with a commanding 40-9 lead. All nine of the Blue Devils points came on three’s as the Tigers’ height in the paint limited them from scoring inside.
It didn’t help the Devils that they were missing two starters in Wyatt Wolford and Michael Porter both being sidelined. But Blue Devils coach Jimmy Franceschelli isn’t going to use that as a defense.
“But that is no excuse for us,” Franceschelli said. “We had a bunch of open shots. I want to say we were six of forty-five from the field. It wasn’t good.”
The Tigers would continue to pull away in the third quarter as they held a 50 point, 62-12, advantage at the end of the period. But the Devils kept fighting as they were able to stay fairly even with the Tigers in the final frame doubling their point total in the frame.
“We didn’t quit. That is a good thing,” Franceschelli said. “Even when shots weren’t falling, we were still out there playing hard and doing the right things. That (Springfield) is a good basketball team, they are 11-0. There is a reason for that.
The Tigers look forward to being tested next Tuesday when they play at Poland in their next contest. The Blue Devils have a week to heal and re-gather themselves as they play at Mineral Ridge next Friday.