SPRING HILL — Springstead dug deep to pull out a win in the semifinals this week to reach the state playoffs, but that is where the magic ended.
Ocala Forest delivered a rude awakening to the Eagles via a 63-29 loss in the Class 5A, District 7 championship game Friday night.
Coming off its best performance of the campaign, Springstead (6-17) never showed the same life against the Wildcats (23-2), mostly because the Eagles never had the same touch from the outside.
"The shots we missed tonight are the same shots we made (in the semifinal against West Port)," Springstead coach Steve Thompson said. "I pull on my hair all the time about our shooting woes."
Even though the Eagles were able to get a small 7-0 run right before going to the locker room, Forest went to halftime with a dominant 37-19 advantage.
The lone player to step up for Springstead was Naquan Innis. The swingman was the only player whose shot seemed to fall for the host school. He went for a team-high 12 on two 3-pointers to go with six rebounds and two assists.
In contrast, three Forest players had at least that many points. Cass LeBlanc (16 points, eight rebounds), Marquise Pritchett (13) and James Williams (12) reached double figures in scoring, capitalizing on the Wildcat press.
"This is the best team we've faced all year by far," Thompson said.
"We had our chances. The whole thing is you have to knock shots down."