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A slow first quarter gave way to a much better second for the Spring Grove boys' basketball team.

After struggling to hit their mark the first few minutes of Tuesday’s meeting with the Red Lion Lions, the Rockets outscored their opponent 14-7 in the second quarter and went on to win 53-37.

“We just made a conscious effort to try to defend and start taking some of the things away that (Red Lion) was getting earlier,” Spring Grove head coach James Brooks said about the second quarter performance. “They were able to swing the ball and getting into to the paint, and then getting second shots.”

The second-quarter performance was much different than the Rockets' one in the first. The Rockets and Lions struggled to get points on the board and the frame remained even at 4-4 for several minutes until Darin Gordon hit back-to-back shots to give Spring Grove its first lead of the game.

The Rockets managed to put up 14 unanswered points in the second before the Lions finally made their first basket with 1:38 left in the first half. The Lions put up seven points in a 38-second span, but the 15-point hole they had found themselves in was too tough to come back from.

“I really kind of reminded those guys ‘don’t lose who we are,’” Brooks said he told his team after the first quarter. “Keep the staple of what our team is made of.”

The Rockets maintained their double-digit lead for the remainder of the game as they went on to pick up their seventh win of the season. Spring Grove finished the contest with two players with double-digit scoring. Darin Gordon stepped up recording 20 points, which included two 3-pointers and two slam-dunks. Eli Brooks finished the game with 13 points for Spring Grove.

Gary Hunt led the Lions in scoring with 12 points and Wyatt Tyson was second with nine points.

The win was a good one for the Rockets, who were looking to start the year 2016 off on the right foot. Spring Grove has some tough opponents awaiting them in the month of January. They will face Chambersburg later in the week and see divisional foe Dallastown next Tuesday.

Their rematch with Central York, who remains the only team to beat the Rockets this season, is less than 10 days away, and they will see Carlisle the following day.

Tuesday’s win was a physical matchup. The officials did not call many fouls and Brooks called the physicality of the game “a blessing in disguise” for his team as they hit a tough stretch in the season.

“To be a physical game that our guys now had to fight and claw through a game. It was physical out there and our guys have to be able to compete with that,” Brooks said.

Spring Grove 53, Red Lion 37 
Spring Grove (53)  

Gordon 3 0-0 6, Wierman 4 0-0 9, Flaherty 1 0-0 2, Eli Brooks 6 0-0 13, Darin Gordon 8 2-3 20, Sager 0 1-2 1, Panter 1 0-0 2. Totals — 23 3-5 53.  
Red Lion (37) 
Gary Hunt 5 0-0 12, Frey 2 4-5 8, Tyson 4 1-2 9, Foster 2 0-0 6, Schrekengust 1 0-0 2. Totals — 14 5-7 37. 
Spring Grove _ 10 _ 14 _ 17 _ 12 _ — _ 53   
Red Lion _ 6 _ 7 _ 16 _ 8 _ — _ 37   

3-point goals — SG 4 (Gordon 2, Wierman, Brooks), RL 4 (Hunt 2, Foster 2).

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