Last year at this time, the regional tournament was just an afterthought for the Springer Cardinals, as they were eliminated in the opening round of the district tournament.

Last year at this time, the regional tournament was just an afterthought for the Springer Cardinals, as they were eliminated in the opening round of the district tournament.

However, after receiving a bye to the district finals this season, the Cardinals made the most of their opportunity Saturday night in Temple.

Fueled by three players in double figures, the Cardinals were able to claim their second ever district championship and first on the road with a 55-47 victory over Grandfield at Temple High School.

“These kids played their butts off tonight for us,” Springer coach Caleb Fulton said. “We had to overcome a lot of adversity and foul trouble. Both Mickey Hunnicutt and Austin Meredith were only able to play about 2 1/2 quarters because of foul trouble.”

“But we were able to keep our cool out there,” Fulton added. “On top of that we handled pressure well, and this was one of our better performances all season.”

Springer led 14-9 at the end of the first quarter, before taking a 22-16 lead into the halftime break.

Grandfield though came back with a 16-13 third quarter run, cutting the Cardinals lead to three points at 35-32 going to the fourth quarter.

However, the night wasn’t going to be ruined as the Cardinals closed out the game with 20 points in the fourth quarter to claim the district title, improving to 12-13 on the season.

Malik Brown led the Cardinals with 20 points in the game followed by Tristan Amiya with 17 points, and Austin Meredith with 10 points. 

Springer will now advance in the winners bracket of Area III, where the Cardinals will play either Duke or Sweetwater Thursday night at 8 p.m. in the regional tournament at Duke High School. 

Should the Cardinals win, they would play for a regional championship Saturday Feb. 16 at Verden High School beginning at 8 p.m.

A loss would send Springer to the regional consolation bracket, where the Cardinals would have to play on Friday at 8 p.m. at Verden High School to keep their season alive. 

The other winners bracket regional contest will have either Erick, Indiahoma, Tupelo or Calvin playing Thursday night at 8 p.m. in Verden.

The loser of that game will have to play in the regional consolation bracket on Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. at Verden High School.