Spartans Gain Control of ECC

Posted on: January 3, 2020
In the battle for control of the Eastern Cincinnati Conference, the Turpin Spartans now have the inside track after defeating the Walnut Hills Eagles 58-52 in front of a packed house Friday on Turpin’s Klinger Court.  The Spartans (8-0 Overall, 5-0 ECC) now have a 1 game lead over West Clermont and are 2 games in front of Walnut and Milford as the teams head into Christmas break.  Jackson Holt led all scorers with 22 points, including 4-7 from 3 point range, Dom Cantrella fired in 18, including 8-8 from the free throw line, and big man Owen Spencer ripped down 9 rebounds and blocked a shot for the undefeated Spartans.
Everyone in the gym knew this was going to be a tough matchup, a close game, between 2 of the ECC’s best.  Turpin started strong as Senior Trey Shetler swiped the ball from a Walnut player on the opening possession, racing coast-to-coast for the layup and a 2-0 Spartan lead.  The Eagles came right back, connecting fro 3 point land on their first 2 shots,  For the game, Walnut would outshoot Turpin from behind the arc, 55% to 31%.  That enabled them to keep it close.  But the dynamic duo of Holt and Cantrella went to work.  Cantrella found pay dirt with a dribble drive to the hoop on one possession, then hit with a pretty, high hang time floater on the next trip down the court.  Holt drilled a dagger from deep, then set up Shetler for 2 with a smooth pass.  After 1 quarter of action, we were knotted at 11 each.  
Holt went off in the second quarter, scoring the first 5 points and dishing another dime to Theisen Lee for 2.  Holt would hit for 10 points in the quarter as Turpin built a 6 point lead, 27-21 heading into halftime.  The Eagles started to close the gap in the third, but Cantrella and Spencer had themselves a quarter, with Dom scoring 6 points and Owen adding 4.  The best sequence of the quarter happened mid-way through.  Spencer hit a nifty hook shot for 2, then Junior Matthew Johnson forced a 5 second, closely guarded turnover on Walnut.  The crowd was fired up and loud!  Cantrella dropped his defender with a 360 spin in the lane and everyone was on their feet.  Walnut’s hot shooting tied the game late in the quarter, but Holt hit his 3rd trey of the game to give the Spartans a 40-37 lead after 3 quarters of play.  
Walnut Hills could sense the momentum shift with Holt’s last 3, and picked up their pace of defense to start the force.  Not surprisingly, the fouls started to mount.  But Turpin would connect on 14 free throws in the 4th quarter, shooting 73% for the game, to put this one out of reach.  The Walnut Hills 3-point shooting was bottled up bu the Spartans in the 4th as well.  After allowing 6 3’s in the first 3 quarters, the defense shut out the eagles from deep in the fourth quarter.  Final score in this one was 58-52.
Next up, the Spartans face 2 tough, non-conference opponents over the break, both games at home.  Elder comes to Turpin on Thursday, 1/2 and Covington Catholic visits in a Saturday night, interstate showdown, 1/4.  Both tips are at 7:30 PM.
Notable Performances:
Scoring: Holt-22, Cantrella-18, Lee-5, Spencer-5, Shetler-4, Bell-3, Tyszkiewicz-1
Rebounds: Spencer-9, Shetler-5, Holt-4, Lee-4, Bell-2, Cantrella-2
Other: Bell-2 blocks, Johnson-2 steals, Shetler-2 steals