SPRING HILL — It was a slow start for Springstead, but with a home playoff game for the first time since the school's state runnerup run in 2009, the Eagles turned momentum and kept it.
Springstead downed King 71-44 on Thursday night in the Class 7A region quarterfinals to advance.
"We didn't play our best basketball," Eagles coach Matthew McGarry said, "but there is no quit in this group."
The Eagles (19-8) were in a tough spot from the opening tip, falling behind 8-0 to the Lions (13-12). Springstead was cold from the floor and dealing with early foul trouble, but the home team clawed back into the game to tie it at 24-24 at halftime.
King junior Chris Romkey (20 points, four rebounds, three steals) had a brilliant first half, scoring 16 points, but Springstead clamped down on the guard, holding him to only four points, all on free throws, in the second half.
McGarry admitted that nerves played a part in the first-half performance. One player seemed unfazed by the stage, freshman Unique Torain (16 points, six rebounds). The younger brother of leading scorer Sincere Torain, Unique did his damage on both the offensive and defensive end. He was the key to the Eagles' press, recording nine steals.
"Unique is so talented," McGarry said. "He made a statement in this game."
As Unique excelled, his older brother followed suit, scoring a game-high 27 points, including four 3-pointers. He sparked an 11-0 run to start the third quarter for Springstead. The Eagles never trailed again.
Springstead will travel to Hillsborough on Tuesday night to take on the Terriers in the region semifinals.