SPRING HILL — Springstead has struggled with inconsistency this season as it tries to find an identity with first-year coach Steve Thompson roaming the sidelines.
While the Eagles emerged with a hard-fought 51-41 victory over rival Central on Friday night, that was again the story.
Springstead (5-10) started the game in a fashion that had many thinking the Eagles would dispatch Central (4-10) rather easily in front of the home crowd. After an 11-0 run to start the game, the starting five for the home squad was firing on all cylinders.
However, the Bears wouldn't go away, and turnovers and foul trouble nagged Springstead. With a lot of hustle and trips the foul line, Central narrowed the gap to 33-30 by the end of the third quarter.
"Somewhere along the line, it looked like we thought we could coast against (Central)," Thompson said. "They'll pay for playing that way (with a tough practice) on Monday."
Springstead guard Nick Steadman (eight steals) led a frantic defensive pace that kept Central off-balance. He provided just enough leadership to give his team the advantage. He scored a game-high 19, including eight in the final quarter.
Another big help for Springstead was forward Charlie Townsend (seven points, 12 rebounds). He was the only player to reach double figures in rebounding despite foul trouble throughout the second half.
In the opening game of the night, Central girls defeated Springstead handily 55-20. Raqurra Ishmar (29 points, 11 rebounds) had a double double for the Bears (13-3) before the end of the third quarter.