METRO ATHLETIC CONFERENCE Struthers defenses Canfield
The Wildcats captured the 61-45 contest with good defense in the final period.
By BOB ROTH
STRUTHERS -- A 13-0 scoring run bridging the third and fourth quarters was the difference as Struthers defeated Canfield 61-45 Friday in a Metro Athletic Conference game at Struthers Fieldhouse.
"A goal for us is to have our bench play better with every game and tonight they were a difference when they were needed," Struthers coach Joe Fuline said.
"I challenged our guys into the fourth quarter to give us a positive effort and told them that defense had to win the game for us, and we had the effort with great defense from everyone on the court tonight."
Until that key run, Struthers' outlook wasn't good because 6-foot-4 Jason Martin and 6-2 Jason Mitchell had four fouls each.
Canfield rallies: Trailing 32-25, Canfield outscored Struthers 9-3 as a Chase Booms basket with 2 minutes, 23 seconds remaining in the third period cut the Wildcats' lead to 35-34.
Fuline called timeout and went to a possession game.
D.J. Aldish scored a basket on a nice feed from Nick Leiter and Struthers (6-6, 2-1) led 37-34 heading into the final quarter.
Then, senior Jim Tabak, who had a career-high 21 points, opened the fourth quarter with a field goal and a pair of free throws to put the Wildcats on top 41-34.
Leiter's 3-pointer with 4:45 remaining extended the run to 12-0 and Struthers' lead to 46-34.
Canfield's first score of the fourth quarter came at 3:45 on a Leo Sorice free throw. The Cardinals' first field goal of the period was scored by Jared Kirkpatrick 40 seconds later.
Down the stretch for the Wildcats, Jimmy Franceschelli, who scored all of his 11 points in the game in the second half, hit on 5 of 6 from the charity stripe to put the game away.
"This was a close game that went their way at the right time," Canfield coach John Cullen said. "It was a different style of game for us, a very physical contest which suited Struthers more as they did a good job of moving the ball and getting shots."
Leading the way: It was Tabak and Martin who had all 12 points in the first quarter for Struthers and 23 of 25 points at the half.
"We knew how much we needed the game and that we had to play hard and play together to win, and I was fortunate to play strong and have a good game," Tabak said.
Martin said, "I worked on my outside shooting, which hasn't been going my way, and tonight it paid off."
Leiter, at 5-9, had seven of his team's 32 rebounds along with three steals and five assists.
"We hustled all night and had good defense when we needed it," Leiter said.
Struthers was 22 of 46 from the floor, while the Cardinals (5-6, 1-2) were only 15 of 52 with 19 turnovers.
Chad Baker led Canfield in scoring with 15 points, and point guard Jared Kirkpatrick scored 13. Frank Turocy, a sophomore in his first start, pulled down 10 of his team's 34 rebounds.