METRO ATHLETIC CONFERENCE Strong 2nd half keys Cards' rally over Howland
Canfield outscored Howland 40-23 in the second half.
By CHUCK HOUSTEAU
CANFIELD -- Canfield High might be the team to watch in the second half of the boys basketball season.
It certainly was in the second half of a 65-53 Metro Athletic Conference win over Howland on Friday night.
The Cardinals (7-6, 4-1) outscored the Tigers 40-23 to overcome a five-point halftime deficit.
"Tonight we pulled away from a pretty darn good team in Howland," said Canfield coach John Cullen. "Any time you hold a team like Howland to 23 points in a half, you're doing something."
It isn't that surprising that Canfield's defense was on its "A-game", because the Cardinals are always one of the top defensive teams in the conference. This year is no different.
What is a surprise is a 40-point scoring effort in one half.
Junior Frank Turocy led the offensive parade with 20 points, while Chad Baker added 17 and John Virostko 12.
"We had a lot of guys play well tonight," Cullen said. "We had a nice one-two punch with Turocy and Baker, but everyone contributed. I thought John Virostko also played a very good game tonight."
The Cardinals featured eight players in the scoring column.
"We were just playing as a team and doing what we always do," Turocy said. "We have a different person every night picking us up and we try to get that person the ball. Tonight I just happened to be making my shots."
Turocy made eight of his points in the third quarter, which helped key a 12-2 run that got the Cardinals back in the game.
Canfield outscored Howland (7-6, 3-2) 19-12 in the period to lead 44-42 at the start of the fourth quarter.
The Cardinals then worked their offensive game plan to perfection in the final period as they got the ball inside to Baker, who scored five points. Virostko also had a hot hand in the quarter, scoring seven points.
Canfield outscored Howland 14-4 to open a 58-46 lead.
"Turnovers killed us and fueled their runs," said Howland coach Bernard Bolha. "Our passing was off tonight. When you throw the ball straight out of bounds four times in a row and they make their transition baskets, it breaks your back a little bit.
"They also ran their offense really well," Bolha said. "They went inside and out, getting the ball inside to Baker, who started to kick it back out to their shooters and they were hitting their shots."
Howland started the game strong behind the play of its talented guards.
Justin Byler made five 3-pointers and finished with 19 points, while Brandon Kubicina added 15 and Scott Day 10.
"This was a game that both teams needed heading into the second half," Cullen said. "We wanted to keep winning so that we have another chance to knock off Poland and win the league.
"Fortunately, we were the ones to come out on top tonight."