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STEEL VALLEY CONFERENCE Warren returns to form, tops Mooney



Published: Sat, February 2, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Warren jumped out to a 13-0 lead en route to a 60-49 win.

By JOE SCALZO

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

YOUNGSTOWN -- Things weren't quite back to normal for the Warren Harding High basketball team, but they were close enough.

"I still think we're ... I don't know if fragile is the word, but whenever we hit a bump on the road, we're a little more emotional," Harding coach Garry Rowland said. "We're just trying to get back to where we were at."

Harding took a step in that direction Friday night, beating Mooney 60-49 in a Steel Valley Conference game at Mooney High School.

The Raiders (12-3, 4-1) lost two games last weekend after head coach Frank Bubba died on Jan. 24.

"We're trying, but it isn't back to normal yet," Harding junior Danny Stella, who scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds, said. "I felt like I needed to come out and give us a spark.

"It was real important for us to play well. I think we were a little anxious [last week] and we got down on ourselves."

Foul trouble: The Raiders shot 21-for-27 from the foul line. Mooney was just 0-2 from the line.

"We didn't shoot the ball well and we sent them to the foul line too often," said Mooney coach Nick Bellino, whose team shot 23 of 54 from the field (43 percent).

Raider junior Prescott Burgess scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and Mike Phillips added seven points, six rebounds and six assists.

Harding jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the opening quarter and pressured Mooney into missing its first eight shots from the field. The Cardinals closed to within six, 16-10, but Ron Angel hit a 3-pointer right before the buzzer to give Harding a 19-10 lead at the end of one.

The Raiders then scored the first five points of the second quarter and Mooney committed seven turnovers in the quarter to trail 35-19 at halftime.

The Cardinals did not get within double digits the rest of the way.

"I was concerned about how we were going to start the game," Rowland said. "You can't take Mooney lightly."

Growing comfortable: Rowland was more vocal Friday night, showing that he's more comfortable in his new head role.

"I am kind of a fiery person," he said. "I was a little emotional and I think it surprised the kids. I demand perfection. Every day we get a little more focused. I know we felt a lot better this week."

Mooney junior Curtis Ingram had 16 points and nine rebounds and sophomore Ron Stoops had his best game of the season, scoring 14 points and grabbing five rebounds.

The loss kept Mooney winless in the SVC, but the Cardinals have been close in almost all their games.

"It really hasn't been frustrating," Bellino said. "We're close to understanding what it takes to win, but we're still young. We know we're just an eyelash away."

scalzo@vindy.com




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