POLAND - The word used most often during the United Way Holiday Basketball Classic at Poland Seminary High School during the Girard-Springfield game was "energy."
Each team seemed to choose when to ignite that energy and when to relieve it. To Indians' advantage, they decided to give off their spurt in the second quarter, outscoring the Tigers 21-8 and extending their lead just enough to award them the 63-52 win.
"Our kids played well," Girard coach Craig Hannon said. "We just talked about ball pressure - putting a lot of ball pressure on them. Make them speed the game up and I thought we executed that pretty well especially in those middle quarters."
In the first half, the Indians (4-2) completely took over, using different defenses to change the style of the game. Offensively, junior guard Dylan O'Hara led Girard, scoring 15 points in the first half. He finished with a career-high 27 points - 22 of them coming from field goals. For most of the second quarter, the Tigers (3-2) only scored two points.
"I think our energy was the key," O'Hara said. "This is our third game this week so our coach told us to come out with a lot of energy. That's all he wanted. I think we came out with that and that's how we got our big lead at the beginning."
In the second half, especially the fourth quarter, Springfield was determined to try and turn the game around.
Sophomore guard Graham Mincher pulled up for a 3-pointer and connected with 6:41 left in the third quarter as a part of his big second half. He finished the game with 20 points - 13 coming in the second half.
But thankfully for Girard, they racked up a large lead early on, because with the leadership of Mincher in the second half, Springfield outscored the Indians, 34-28. They only allowed Girard to score seven points in the final quarter.
"We didn't come out with a lot of energy," Springfield coach Eric Fender said. "For whatever reason there was timidness. Whether it was a bigger stage, bigger court. Playing Girard, a school who has given us some problems at times, we just didn't come out. We didn't execute very well and we definitely didn't come out with a lot of energy.
"I think that's what really changed the game. If you look at it, in the second half, we ended up winning by about six and that's huge for us. Our energy and our effort picked up in the second half. We just told our guys we have to play a full game. We can't expect to win playing just a half of basketball."
Alongside O'Hara for the Indians, the Standohars combined for 25 points - Jimmy with 15 and Evan with 10.
"I'll tell you what, Evan and Jimmy, the two Stadohar boys have been leaders for us," Hannon said. "We feed off of them but when Dylan is shooting the ball like that we become really hard to guard because you always have to have a body on him. He works hard at his jump shot. So to me, when it leaves his hands, I believe it's in."
O'Hara knows when the Indians are playing as a team, they will have success this season.
"We are pretty disruptive and we play well as a team," O'Hara said. "We all like playing basketball with each other. We are all pretty close. My teammates do a good job of finding me and I knocked down some shots. I can feel when I'm going to do well and I felt that tonight. Just my shot, when I let it go, I know it's in."
Girard gets a break until Friday, when it travels to Lakeview. Springfield takes the floor on Tuesday night in an Inter Tri-County League, Division I game, against United.