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STEEL VALLEY CONFERENCE Mayes leads Fitch past Mooney



Published: Sat, January 26, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



He scored 21 points and had a game-high 16 rebounds in a 57-50 win.

By GREG GULAS

VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT

YOUNGSTOWN -- Greg Mayes scored a game high 21 points and Shawn Barber converted five free throws in the final 56 seconds Friday as the Austintown Fitch High basketball team defeated Cardinal Mooney, 57-50,

Mayes also hauled in a game high 16 rebounds in the Steel Valley Conference game.

Mayes recorded his 10th double-double of the season as the Falcons improved to 8-4 overall and 2-2 in league play.

The win was their second straight after entering the contest having dropped three of their previous four outings.

"We have endured dry spells all season long that have caused us to struggle at times during the course of a game," Fitch coach Gary Conroy said.

"Our play has been up and down, but tonight our height advantage really helped our inside game," Conroy said.

"Both Greg Mayes and Kevin Johnson did a nice job for us tonight, Greg inside and Kevin with his high-low play," Conroy said.

Mooney led briefly: Curtis Ingram's three-point play at the 4:05 mark of the first period gave the Cardinals (6-7, 0-4) a short-lived 5-4 lead, but Johnson's tip-in 22 seconds later gave the Falcons an advantage they would not relinquish.

"Our effort was great tonight and our team still feels good about themselves," Cardinal coach Nick Bellino said. "We are a young team that has played so many close games this season.

"We are an eyelash away but until we can turn the corner in those close games, we'll just have to keep working the way we have been and hope that the ball begins to bounce our way."

A Rashad Williams' three-point goal and an Ingram bucket with 52 seconds left cut the Falcons' lead to 25-23 at intermission.

"We knew that we were in for a game tonight," Conroy said. "Curtis Ingram is an excellent shooter and his 12 points at halftime really ignited them," he said.

"We have struggled in the third quarter all season so I was shocked, but happy, to see us play as well as we did after intermission," Conroy said.

Mayes scored six points and Rob Patzak added five as the Falcons outscored the Cardinals 18-7 in the third quarter for a 43-30 advantage.

The Cardinals went on a 7-0 run to cut the Falcons' lead to 43-37, but a Mayes free throw at the 4:49 mark broke a 4:03 scoring drought.

Closed the gap: Joe Burke (five points) and Ron Stoops (four points) then ignited a 13-8 Cardinals' run as Mooney pulled to within two at 52-50 with just 33 seconds remaining.

Barber calmly sank three of his five charity tosses and Mayes added a bucket at the buzzer as the Falcons iced the victory.

The loss for the Cardinals was the fifth in their last six outings.

Fitch was 21 of 40 from the field, canning four of seven shots from beyond the arc while the Cardinals connected on 21 of 50 field goal attempts and five of 10 from three-point range.

The Falcons outrebounded the Cardinals 30-26, Johnson adding six caroms to Mayes' game high 16 for the Falcons while Stoops and Jeff Hehr had a team high five rebounds for Cardinal Mooney.

Ingram also had four rebounds and four assists to go along with his team-high 18 points.

Burke (15) scored in double figures for the Cardinals while Johnson (13) was the only other Falcon scoring in double figures.




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