Canfield stifles Tigers' attack
The Cardinals remain unbeaten after a 33-28 win over Howland.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
CANFIELD -- Defense was the name of the game Tuesday night in the Metro Athletic Conference battle between the Canfield and Howland High girls basketball teams.
The Cardinals held the Tigers to just nine second-half points and without a field goal in the third quarter to post a 33-28 victory and remain unbeaten with a 6-0 record (2-0 in the MAC).
Both teams played aggressive defense which resulted in poor shooting for both teams and a total of 36 turnovers.
"There was some good defense on both sides tonight," said Canfield coach Pat Pavlansky. "I was impressed by the way both teams came out and attacked one another."
Neither team shot well
Canfield hit on just 15 of 46 shots from the field while the Tigers (4-2, 1-1) made only 11 of 47. There was only one 3-point goal made in the contest.
"We had a lot of unforced errors out there tonight," Howland coach John Diehl said, "but a lot of them were due to Canfield's defense."
The game should have been decided in the third quarter after Howland had held on for a 19-17 halftime lead.
Canfield held the Tigers without a field goal and forced 11 of Howland's turnovers in the eight-minute span, but still could only take a 23-22 advantage going into the final eight minutes.
Diehl was surprised that the Tigers hadn't scored a field goal in the quarter.
"I didn't realize that," he said. "That hasn't happened in a long time with us.
Cardinals take biggest lead
Canfield scored the first two baskets of the final quarter, both by junior Bryanne Halfhill, who led the Cardinals in scoring with 10 points, as they pulled to a 27-22 margin.
But the Tigers came right back and scored the next six points and regained the lead 28-27 on a rebounded basket by Alexa Williams with 3:50 remaining.
Canfield responded by scoring the final six points of the contest, four by freshman Jillian Halfhill that included two free throws in the final seconds of play to lock up the win.
"You have to defend your home court in this league," Pavlansky said. "This was a big win for our program."
Diehl is looking forward to the rematch at Howland on Jan. 31.
"We've taken them to overtime the last two times we played them at our place and we're looking forward to meeting them again up there," Diehl said.
Leading the Tigers
Senior Melissa Airhart led the Tigers with 12 points and had the game's only 3-point goal. Williams added eight points while top scorer Ellie Shields was limited to six points.
Kate Popovec added nine points for the Cardinals.
Howland jumped out to an early 5-2 lead before the Cardinals closed the gap to 5-4. Then the two teams went over three minutes before scoring again.
Popovec had six of her nine points in that first quarter as Canfield took an 8-5 lead.
In the second quarter, Howland came back to tie the contest 12-12 on Airhart's 3-pointer. Then the lead changed hands five times before the Tigers came out with a 19-17 halftime lead.
Howland missed all seven shots it took in the third period and made just three free throws, while Canfield couldn't take advantage, hitting just three of 11 shots for a one-point edge.