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Springdale Prep boys basketball enjoying success despite depleted roster

Springdale Prep’s boys basketball team equaled each of its last two seasons’ win total when the Lions defeated Avalon School 75-63 last week. The New Windsor private school finished 10-8 in 2018-19, and posted a 10-11 record the following season.

The Lions take a 10-3 mark into Wednesday’s matchup with Scotland Campus (Pa.), and with their 2020-21 season set to conclude Saturday at home against National Christian Academy, a winning campaign is secure. And it’s a campaign coach Tyrone Johnson likely didn’t envision when the year began.

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Springdale has been without five players for most if not all of the season because of injuries.

The Lions lost seniors Tristian Shaw (guard) and Precieux Tshibangu (6-foot-6 forward) both to knee surgery. Freshman guard Langston Bailey sustained a knee injury as well. Junior guard Richard Burke was done in December because of hand surgery, and freshman guard Kadon Fossett, who played last season as an eighth-grader, suffered an ankle injury in December that knocked him out for the season.

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Springdale didn’t let the losses affect its start to the season ― the Lions won four of their first five games, then reeled off six wins in seven contests entering Wednesday’s game against Scotland.

Springdale basketball head coach Tyrone Johnson during a timeout in a boys basketball game against Avalon at Springdale Prep on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021.
Springdale basketball head coach Tyrone Johnson during a timeout in a boys basketball game against Avalon at Springdale Prep on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. (Brian Krista/Carroll County Times)

A lack of depth hasn’t hurt Springdale, either. Sophomore guard KJ Gardner leads the team in scoring at 17.7 points per game, and freshman guard Elwyne Wordlaw is next at 13.4. Detwan Montague, a 6-8 forward, averages 6.0 rebounds and Wordlaw pulls down 5.0 per game.

Vince Atkins, a 6-4 senior forward, pitches in with 7.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.

Seven players contributed on offense in Springdale Prep’s 75-63 win over Avalon on Feb. 19. Wordlaw and Gardner led the way with 18 points apiece, and Atkins added 10.

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Springdale Prep’s program started in 2018 and the Lions have met challenges on their schedule in the years since. Springdale got a chance to play Ohio-based SPIRE Institute in 2019, a team that featured LaMelo Ball, in a showcase tournament at Towson University. Ball is in the NBA now after being drafted by Charlotte with the No. 3 overall pick last summer.

Springdale lost to SPIRE in that game, but defeated the powerhouse in 2020 and played in the USA National Prep Basketball Championship in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, last March.

The Lions have a chance to post their most wins in a season, but Johnson said he’s most pleased with how his players have handled themselves amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“The fact that we haven’t had any COVID issues all year tells me that they’re maintaining a healthy lifestyle when leaving the court,” Johnson said last week. “It’s telling me that they’re disciplined and that they love [this] family, which is the team, as much as they love their family. It allows us to play.

“Without that, the on-the-court performance wouldn’t really be anything. They’re honorable young men, and they play that way.”

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