Unsure passes. Forced shots. Left-in-the-dust defense. These were all commonplace as Red Springs staggered to another loss in its home opener against Gray’s Creek.
Those days are long gone.
Sure, Red Springs has only won one game since then — in conference, at that, a 68-61 Three Rivers triumph over East Columbus last week — but there’s a noticeable difference in the Red Devils’ play. And not just from a straight x’s-and-o’s standpoint — the passing, shooting and rebounding, its all been vastly revamped.
The Red Devils also added a hop to their step. A contagious confidence that seems to be swelling as the season progresses.
This young squad is no longer playing not to lose, they’re playing to win.
This was evident Wednesday when Red Springs flirted with an upset win over non-conference county rival Purnell Swett. Red Springs fell 48-46 but arguably outplayed the Rams most of the 32 minutes of play. Heck, the Red Devils committed 32 turnovers and still put themselves in position for a game-winning shot. Jameson Baker’s 3-point attempt at the buzzer drew iron and the Red Devils dropped to 1-12 on the year.
But, “The guys are getting better each day,” Red Springs coach Glenn Patterson said following the loss. “I think they’re really buying into making that commitment to the program. And you can see … they were two points away from a victory. A two-point loss with 32 turnovers — what can you say?”
You can say that the Red Springs players are on their way to finding the missing links that Patterson has been looking for all year: Leaders.
“We’ve got some guys capable of leading, but we aren’t seeing it,” Patterson said back in early December when I watched his lost-looking squad.
Red Devils Jameson Baker, Quinn Lowery, averaging 10 points apiece, and Julian Brown, netting seven a game along with 5.6 assists, are beginning to take the reigns.
Wednesday night Swett coach Jeremy Sampson tried to warn his players that Red Springs — the same team with blowout losses peppering its one-win record — was a different team than the group they already beat twice this season. The reality of Sampson’s sentiment may not have sunk in until the Rams faced a 27-24 halftime-deficit on their home court.
“I told the guys, we’ve beaten them before but they’ve gotten a lot better,” Sampson said. “I told Glenn, they’re a good team. They’re going to be good in their conference.”
Red Springs will be looking to continue making strides when it travels to Three Rivers rival Fairmont for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off tonight.
Reach Sports editor Kaleb Roedel at 910-272-6111 or email@example.com