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Ben Unger leads Mitchell past Springstead in district quarterfinal matchup

Unger scores a game-high 26 points to push the Mustangs into Wednesday’s district semifinal against Land O’ Lakes

TRINITY, Fla.- A relieved Mitchell head coach Jason Vetter knew at some point there would be a lull in offense Tuesday night. 

Down multiple players due to an end-of-season altercation, the Mustangs would need other players to step up in their place. One of them ended up being senior shooting guard Sam Unger. 

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The 6-foot-5 guard scored a game-high 26 points, leading Mitchell past Springstead 66-60 in a Class 7A, District 4 quarterfinal matchup. Mitchell will face Land O’ Lakes on Wednesday night in the district semifinals. Winner of that game will face the winner of the Wiregrass Ranch-Forest matchup. 

“I don’t know a lot we did well offensively in the second half,” Vetter said. “We made enough plays. It’s the playoffs. Everyone’s season is on the line and we knew Springstead was going to play hard. Their kids made some tough shots at the end of the game. Ben (Unger) played really good offensively.” 

The only time Springstead held a lead at any point was the game’s opening bucket from sophomore Zion McKenzie. Other than that, the Eagles (10-14) trailed for the remainder of the contest as the Mustangs went on an 11-0 run to take control. 

Down several guards, freshman Cayden Thomas was thrusted onto the floor to play more point guard for Mitchell and he came through. Thomas scored nine points and dished out five assists in the contest. 

“Cayden (Thomas) is an athlete,” Vetter said. “Quarterback on the football team. Nothing fazes him. He doesn’t get nervous. He just goes out there and tries to make plays.” 

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The Mustangs (17-9) continued to build upon their lead throughout the first half as they led by 16 points at one point in the second quarter. On the final play of the half, Thomas would find Unger for a 3-pointer with time expiring. At intermission, Mitchell led 41-28 and Vetter’s team would keep the foot on the proverbial gas pedal. 

Mitchell looked like they might runaway with the game in the third period, with the Mustangs leading 50-33 early in the quarter. Springstead would begin making a run in getting back into the contest. The Eagles got to 50-44 late in the third after a floater from forward Caidell Gilbert. 

In the final period of play, the Eagles kept chipping away and the closest they would get was two points. Despite a valiant comeback effort, it would come to no avail. Divine Torain scored a team-high 20 points for the Eagles. 

Multiple key put backs by Unger helped seal the victory for Mitchell and put them into the semifinals to face district foe Land O’ Lakes. 

“Land O’ Lakes tomorrow. It’s going to be a tough one,” Vetter added. “We have to find a way. We had second half leads in both games during the season. They’re a really good team.” 

Andy Villamarzo can be reached at andyvillamarzo@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @Andy_Villamarzo.