By Chris Gionta
The Springfield College men’s basketball team defeated Coast Guard on Saturday afternoon at Blake Arena by the score of 91-81.
Before Saturday’s game on James Naismith Court, Springfield honored their seniors Daryl Costa, Collin Lindsay, and Casey Lane for the team’s annual Senior Day. Appropriately enough, Costa and Lindsay stole the show. They led the way in the Pride’s victory with 28 and 19 points respectively.
Costa’s point total was the highest in a game in his career, and was the highest point total of any Pride player in a game this season.
“It’s senior day — it definitely brings it up a little bit,” said Costa. “I’ve been saying it all day, I’ve said ‘I’m having 30.’”
Lindsay also set a career-high, with his personal best being in the rebound column, where he grabbed 12 boards for a double-double.
Coast Guard looked to spoil Springfield’s celebratory day and took a commanding lead early. Starting the game 4-for-4 from the field, they were up 9-2 with 17:47 left in the first half. They had a comfortable 17-13 lead five minutes into the game, but that is when Springfield’s seniors began to take over.
Lindsay and Costa made back-to-back three pointers to take a 19-17 Springfield lead. From that point through the end of the half, Costa tallied 11 points, with Lindsay right behind him — gathering 10 in that span. This led to the game being tied at 43 at halftime.
The Bears began to take control of the game once again when the second half started. They reached a 55-50 lead with 16:38 left in the second half.
However, the Pride was able to regain that control using an eclectic mix of players to put points on the board. After the Bears’ lead was brought to 59-55, Costa made a layup, which was followed by an Andrew Rocci layup in the next possession. After that, Jacob Morales scored another layup, then Zeke Blauner garnered a steal that resulted in him getting to the foul line and making a shot there. All of a sudden, the Pride was up, 62-59.
The game remained tight, and was eventually tied again at 72 with 6:57 left. Yet, this was the last time the game was tied. Rocci completed a three-point play on an and-one to make it 75-72, and after Coast Guard made a free throw, the Pride had a morale-building play.
A series of passes led to a good scoring opportunity for Morales, and while rotating, he bounced the ball off the backboard. The ball rolled inside the rim, but then rolled out, and for a split-second, the energy was taken out of Blake Arena. However, the energy returned with Rocci’s hands retrieving the offensive rebound. After coming down with it, he dished the ball to Lindsay, who sunk a contested layup and made the score 77-73.
The Pride’s lead remained four with four minutes to go in the second half. After a missed shot by the Bears, Springfield went into offensive transition and the ball was in control of the man who also had the game in his control on Saturday — Daryl Costa. Going to his left side, and seemingly driving to the basket, he changed his direction quickly by performing a step-back move. Like everyone watching, the Coast Guard defender was not expecting this, and left too much room for the senior guard. Costa made the three-pointer to make it 82-75 with 3:35 left, and forced a Bears timeout.
In the final minute, Springfield was winning, 87-78, and Coast Guard made their last attempt to catch up by forcing the Pride to take foul shots. Fittingly enough, they fouled Costa and Lindsay in the final minute, and also appropriately, they combined to make all four.
Springfield knew this game was a good one to win, and prepared that way leading up to it.
“There’s always an emphasis on games at the end of the season,” said Springfield coach Sean Martin, who was in the head coaching role on Saturday. “Whether it’s senior day — and obviously that’s an extra motivation — but, we talk about protecting our home floor all the time. This is Blake Arena. It’s our home, and we don’t let anyone come into it without a fight.”
The Pride has been forced to battle a plethora of obstacles this season, but their leadership from within has kept them going.
“We’ve kind of had to battle it all year — that different things would come up with COVID, and games, and injuries,” said Martin. “And this team never let it faze them. And credit to the leadership the team had — the seniors, Daryl [Costa] and Collin [Lindsay], and even some of the younger guys like [Panayiotis Kapanides] stepping into leadership roles and not allowing us to have off days.”
Springfield ended their season on a positive note and improved their record to 6-17. With 10 quality underclassmen on the roster, there is a lot of potential in the coming years for the team.
Photo: Springfield College Athletics