BOARDMAN Bland, Russo propel victory
Boardman capitalized on Canfield's cold-shooting start to produce a 50-36 win.
By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
CANFIELD -- It's a slight understatement to say the Canfield High offense struggled through the first three quarters against Boardman.
"It wasn't from a lack of putting up shots," Cardinals coach Pat Pavlansky said.
Rather, it was from a lack of making them.
The Cardinals missed their first six shots of the game, shot just 11 percent in the first half (3-for-28) and trailed 38-17 at the end of three quarters, en route to a 50-36 loss to the Spartans in a non-conference girls basketball game.
"You have to give credit to their defense," Pavlansky said. "It's tough to create their athleticism and their speed in practice."
Won last year: Pavlansky knows a thing or two about good teams, having led Canfield (8-4) to the Division II state final last season -- a season that included a 63-53 win over Boardman.
The Spartans (10-1) didn't forget.
"We've been waiting for this game," said Boardman sophomore point guard Brittany Durkin, who had four points and five rebounds. "We wanted to get them back for beating us so bad last year."
Sophomore Amber Bland scored 22 points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked four shots for the Spartans, and senior Ashlee Russo added 18 points and four rebounds.
"Anytime Boardman and Canfield play there's an incentive," Boardman coach Ron Moschella said. "I'm friends with Coach Pavlansky. I want to beat him and he wants to beat me. Our kids want to beat them and his kids want to beat us."
The same could be said for those watching the game -- Boardman's scorekeeper was ejected for his remarks to an official.
Took command: The Spartans jumped out to an 8-0 lead and went ahead 15-5 after one quarter. Bland hit two free throws to make it 17-7 in the opening minute of the second quarter and Canfield never again got within double digits.
"To hold them to 50 points is not terrible," Pavlansky said. "Our offense didn't do well and they have some very good defensive players."
Canfield scored 19 points in the fourth quarter -- more than in the first three quarters combined -- but Boardman hit 8-of-9 free throws down the stretch.
Canfield senior Erin Martin scored 11 of her 19 points in the final period. Jill Vertanen grabbed eight rebounds for the Cardinals.
Had a streak: Canfield made eight straight shots at one point in the fourth quarter, and started to attack Boardman's defense -- something the Cardinals need to do more often, Pavlansky said.
"A couple years ago Ron [Moschella] told me, 'Your girls need to go hard to the hoop more often,' " Pavlansky said. "I took that to heart."
Lauren Craig scored four points and added three rebounds and two blocked shots off the bench for Boardman.
But, like always, Bland and Russo stole the show.
"Our starting five plays really well together, but when one of those two is out, we don't play as well," Durkin said.