Hoover too tough for Cards
By TOM WILLIAMS
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NORTH CANTON -- After limiting one of the state's top teams to 23 points in the first half, the Canfield High girls basketball team was positioned to make its strongest statement yet in an unbeaten season.
North Canton Hoover spoiled that plan Wednesday, outscoring the Cardinals 23-9 in the third quarter on the way to a 64-39 victory.
Junior Brittany Orban dominated in the second half, scoring 15 of her game-high 19 points for the Vikings (13-3).
"They are an excellent basketball team," Canfield coach Pat Pavlansky said after the Vikings snapped the Cards' 11-game winning streak. "They played better than us, there's no doubt about it.
"There are some flaws in our game that they definitely exposed," Pavlansky said. "Now it's time for us to go to work on them."
Senior Stephanie Gibson scored 16 points while sophomore Jessica Carpenter had 11 and junior Kyle Baumgartner contributed nine.
Baumgartner also helped the Vikings cause by drawing two first-quarter fouls on Canfield's best player, Kate Popovec.
After Baumgartner scored the game's first four points, Canfield posted an 8-0 run on baskets by Melissa West, Bryanne Halfhill, Jillian Halfhill and Popovec.
Late in the first quarter, Canfield led, 12-8, before Baumgartner and Jackie Nicodemo scored baskets for a tie.
The seesaw second quarter saw the Vikings outscore the Cards, 11-7, as both teams went cold from the field.
The Cards thought Popovec had picked up her third foul on a loose ball collision, but dodged a bullet when the official reported an incorrect number to the scorer's table.
But moments later, Popovec had her third foul and was forced to pull back.
"She's had 13 fouls the whole season and she had five tonight," said Pavlansky of his 6-foot-3 player. "There were some flaws in our defense that cost us some fouls. "But you know what? It's a team thing, too.
"We didn't put her in the best position to not let her foul," Pavlansky said. "We allowed players to penetrate past us and put her in some tough spots. Hopefully we'll do better next time against them."
Baumgartner said Hoover coach Paul Wackerly let the Vikings know they did not play well in the first half.
"I wouldn't say I was unhappy, but I'd say we didn't play like we should have played," said Wackerly whose Vikings fell out of this week's Top Ten in the Associated Press poll of Division I teams. "We did some things nonchalantly."
The Vikings were anything but nonchalant in the third quarter, opening with a 10-4 run that gave them a double-digit lead.
Orban scored seven points in each quarter of the second half to turn the game into a rout.
"She makes me look good," Wackerly said. "She makes good decisions on her own."
Gibson scored 10 second-half points as the Vikings' defense shut down the Cards' attack.
"We played with a little more control and took care of the ball a little better," Wackerly said.
Popovec scored 14 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Bryanne Halfhill scored 11 points.
Saturday, the Vikings (unbeaten in the Federal League) travel to Boardman to play the Spartans, the state's second-ranked team who are also unbeaten in the Federal League.
Boardman, Hoover and Canfield are expected to be the top three seeds in the Division I district tournament at Alliance. The seeds will be selected Sunday.