STEEL VALLEY CONFERENCE Boardman snaps losing skid, downs league-rival Ursuline
Matt Marks had 18 points in the second half for the Spartans.
By GREG GULAS
BOARDMAN -- It's been 49 days between wins for the Boardman High boys basketball team.
Coach Dan Gorski is hoping that Friday's 57-53 win over Steel Valley Conference rival Ursuline will serve as the springboard for his team's second-half season run.
"It sure feels good to win," Gorski said. "Injuries, the loss of several players and the schedule haven't been kind to us this year.
"Those aren't excuses because you have to play the cards that you are dealt," he added. "This team, despite the adversity, has remained positive, kept their chins up and weathered the tough going."
The Spartans' last win came on Dec. 6, a 71-67 decision over Chaney.
Boardman (2-10, 1-3) snapped a nine-game losing streak, while the Irish, winners the last time out against Cardinal Mooney, fell to 5-10 and 1-3 while losing for the fifth time in their last six outings.
"We did not play with the same intensity tonight as we did the other night against Mooney," Ursuline coach Steve Leslie said. "Boardman's record is deceiving and I knew that Coach Gorski would have his team up for us."
The Irish looked like world-beaters out of the gate, taking an early 7-2 lead midway through the first quarter. The Spartans then went on a 9-2 run, taking an 11-9 lead after the first eight minutes.
Mike DeOnofrio and Jay Davis each scored six points in the second period for the Spartans. Boardman led by as many as seven (23-16) before settling for a 27-23 halftime advantage.
"You have to realize that Mike DeOnofrio missed the first five weeks of the season with a broken elbow," Gorski said. "This is just his sixth game for us at point guard. Each time out, though, he seems to get a little more comfortable running our offense."
Held to just four points at halftime, Matt Marks' numbers offensively were as chilling as the weather outside. Enter the meltdown.
Marks scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in the second half, helping the Spartans to their largest lead of the game at 46-34 with 6:24 remaining.
He scored nine points in each quarter, canning two buckets from beyond the arc in the third period, including one at the buzzer to give Boardman a 40-32 advantage.
"Matt Marks comes to play every night," Gorski said. "He works hard at both ends of the court and has throughout his entire career."
The Irish drew to within 53-49 on two Isaiah Poindexter free throws with 57 seconds remaining, but Brad Beck made his only free throw, a timely one with just seven seconds remaining to ice the Spartans' four-point victory.
In addition to Marks' 22 points, Davis had 16 and DeOnofrio 11 to pace the Spartans.
Poindexter's 17 points led Ursuline, while Brandon Braxton was the only other Irish player in double figures with 13.
Ursuline held a 36-27 rebound advantage, with Davis pulling down a game-high seven for the Spartans. Brett Neely led Ursuline with five caroms.