Raiders stand tall; Spartans fall
Harding had four players in double figures in an 80-55 win over Boardman.
By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
BOARDMAN -- After a strong -- but inconsistent -- first half of the season, Warren Harding finally put together a complete game Friday night.
And it was scary.
The Raiders shot 62 percent from the field (31-for-50) and outscored Boardman 21-10 in the third quarter to pull away for an 80-55 win in a Steel Valley Conference game at Boardman.
"As scary as this sounds," Harding coach Frank Bubba said, "we can still get better offensively."
Maybe, but it will be tough to top Friday's effort as nine different players scored for Harding -- including four in double figures.
Ronald Angel led the Raiders (9-1, 2-0) with 16 points and Mike Phillips added 16 points, five rebounds and four assists.
"We saw just a little sample of how good Warren Harding can be," Boardman coach Dan Gorski said. "The people who came here tonight saw a great basketball game. We just happened to have better seats."
Staying close: Boardman trailed 19-11 at the end of the first quarter and stayed close for much of the first half. Boardman cut its deficit to 28-26 with 4:45 remaining in the second quarter, but would get no closer.
The Raiders outscored Boardman 14-5 the rest of the way to take a 42-31 halftime lead.
"We wanted to cut the lead in half in the third quarter," Gorski said. "Then we got outscored by 11."
Harding shot 9-for-13 in the third period and hit all three of its free throws to take a 63-41 lead.
By then, the rout was on.
"We're a veteran basketball team so we should be able to recognize a good shot when we have it," Bubba said. "We're also a talented team, so when we take a good shot it should go in. As long as we don't get away from that, we'll be successful."
Spartan stars: Matt Marks led the Spartans (6-4, 1-1) with 12 points and John Greco added 11 points and seven rebounds. Mike Finamore had six assists.
Boardman shot 23-for-48 (48 percent) but was 6-for-9 from the free throw line. Harding was 16-for-21 from the line.
"I can live with our effort," Gorski said. "They're just a little quicker and more physical. Our guys were running as hard as we could, they just have better athletes. I'm proud of the fact that we hung in there."
Prescott Burgess scored 13 points and Danny Stella added 10 points, five rebounds and four steals for the Raiders.
"It was a big statement game for us," Phillips said. "We haven't been playing well and we needed to show that we still got it."
Asked if this was Harding's best game of the season, Phillips smiled.
"I would say so," he said.