Monday, February 05, 2001

Springboro girls move to head of the class


Panthers climb to No. 1 in girls Div. II-IV poll

By Dave Schutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Springboro's girls basketball team has a terrific junior class, a husband-and-wife coaching team, and now, for the first time, the No.1 spot in The Enquirer's Division II-IV poll.

        The Panthers already have clinched a fourth consecutive Mid-Miami League North title. Their only loss came to Dayton power Day ton power Chaminade-Julienne, playing its first season in Division I.

        “We took a 15-point lead in the first quarter against C-J but couldn't hold it,” Springboro coach Rick Creager said. “Although I don't like losing, it may turn out to be the best thing that happened.”

        Since that loss, the Panthers have won 16 straight games, including an overtime victory over McNi cholas last week.

        “Most of our games aren't close, so we concentrate on learning something,” Rick Creager said. “The McNicholas game told me where we stand for the season. This team's not ready to peak.”

        Expectations were high entering the season with the Panthers returning eight of the top nine players from a team that went 21-4 and won a sectional championship.

        Springboro's key players are all juniors: forward Lindsay Wight, who averages 15.7 points and 7.4 rebounds; forward Kelsey Sullivan (14 points, 4.2 rebounds); and forward Becky Ballard (13.9 points, 8.7 rebounds).

        Jill Graham, a 5-foot-4 senior point guard, runs the offense, averaging four assists and six points, with Nicole Wright (six points), Leigh Lacy (six points) and Mandy Teets (four points) also contributing.

        Leading the group are Creager and his wife, Samantha, a former Springboro player. They began dating after Samantha graduated and have been married 15 years.

        “I didn't want to be away from him during basketball season,” Samantha Creager said, “so I decided to help out.”

        “They get along so well. It's a neat combination,” Sullivan said.

        The Panthers are seeded No. 1 in the Centerville sectional, but could be tested with five of the six teams in the upper bracket posting winning records. Looming are possible district or regional games against Kenton Ridge (17-2), Trotwood Madison (15-4), McNicholas (13-6), Dayton Dunbar (16-2), Purcell Marian (15-4) and Kings (15-3).

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