by Ed Morrone
Jared Sprague-Lott is a baseball player first and foremost, but at the same time, his impact on the SCH Academy basketball team has been immeasurable.
Sprague-Lott is not the Blue Devils’ leading scorer. In fact, he’s not the second- or third-highest points man in the team’s offense, either. But if you look a little deeper beneath surface level qualifications such as points per game, the senior captain and guard is one of the most important players on the team.
First and foremost, Sprague-Lott is a leader who demands the respect of his teammates and opponents due to how hard he plays on both sides of the ball. While not an explosive scorer, he can slash his way to the rim for easy buckets if the opposing defense takes him lightly, as was evidenced by the six points he earned in Friday night’s 69-64 loss to Malvern Prep.
Sprague-Lott does a little bit of everything that the Blue Devils need, adding five steals, four rebounds and two assists in the losing effort to the Friars.
“I just try to play my hardest on both sides of the court,” Sprague-Lott said. “I know we look for other guys to score, so I try to work around them and do whatever I can to help them out and push us forward. My goal for each team is to just be a good teammate and make sure I’m having a good influence on the people around me.”
The loss to Malvern, as Sprague-Lott put it afterward, was “heartbreaking.” The Friars came into Chestnut Hill winners of 15 straight games. The Inter-Ac frontrunners hadn’t lost since Dec. 27, so there was noticeable excitement buzzing around the gym when the Blue Devils took a 34-19 lead in the second quarter, one that held at 36-25 at halftime.
The Blue Devils entered the game two behind Malvern with three to play, so their chances of rallying for a league title were slim. However, considering the team is loaded with seniors who will move on after the season, the result still stung.
“Our goal coming into the season was to win the Inter-Ac, and everybody believed it,” Sprague-Lott said. “We’re still going to stay the same as a family and bounce back. Look for us to make a run in states.”
Sprague-Lott and company will enter the postseason PAISAA Tournament with confidence knowing they had the best team in the league on the ropes for an entire half. Malvern may have made a run to win the game, but the Blue Devils are still all kinds of dangerous, and a large component of that is due to how Sprague-Lott and fellow senior captains Dave Robinson and Scott Bandura have kept the team together all season long.
“It’s definitely been a privilege,” Sprague-Lott said. “As an underclassman, I looked up to my captains, now I just want to be sure I’m passing that on to the next generation of classes. I want to make sure the program still develops. Whatever season it is, I just try to give it my all.”
Sprague-Lott’s unselfish, committed efforts have been noticeable. Head coach Julian McFadden, a 2006 graduate and former basketball player himself at the school, is in his fourth year leading the program. He and Sprague-Lott came on board at the same time, and McFadden is continuously grateful to have such a reliable leader to turn to when obstacles inevitably come calling.
“He’s been a classic glue guy who does all the little things right,” McFadden said. “He’s able to make plays offensively and defensively for us, and defensively especially he showed tonight how he has a knack for the ball. He’s always made big plays for us down the stretch in games, and the leadership aspect is the biggest thing you can talk about with Jared. Whether it’s the classroom, on the court or on the diamond, he leads everywhere he goes. He’s truly big for us, just huge.”
The Blue Devils still have two regular season games left this week before moving on to the PAISAA Tournament. Malvern will assuredly be the favorite in that one too, but with Sprague-Lott and a talented stable of seniors still on board at SCH, the Blue Devils hope you haven’t heard the last of them yet.
Regardless of how the basketball season ends, Sprague-Lott still has one final season of baseball at the school to look forward too. He was a major component on last year’s team that won an Inter-Ac crown, and Sprague-Lott will return to his familiar spot of shortstop as the Blue Devils attempt to repeat as champions. After that, it’s off to the University of Richmond on a baseball scholarship.
“I played a big part in our title last year, and I’ve already been named a captain for this year’s team,” Sprague-Lott said. “I definitely consider myself a leader and key part of that team. As far as Richmond goes, I felt a genuine connection with the coaches as soon as I walked in there. It felt like a good fit, like I wouldn’t get lost and I know I’ll get the attention I need to the move to the next level, which is my ultimate goal.”
Until he treks south to Virginia though, there’s still work to be done at SCH for Sprague-Lott.
“We all came in with Coach Jules, and since day one he’s preached family,” he said. “I think here I’ve created another family, and we’re going to stay together and bounce back from this loss. It’s always bigger than basketball, and we realize that as we’ve learn