Spartans impose their will on Fitch

By Chuck Housteau

AUSTINTOWN — Boardman coach Jim Goske likes how his Spartans’ basketball team is starting to come together.

Dave DiBernardi poured in 15 points to lead four Spartans in double figures as Boardman opened up an early lead on Austintown Fitch and cruised to a 71-63 Federal League victory over the Falcons on Tuesday night.

Trae Robinson also tallied 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while Dayne Hammond scored 12 points. Ohio State football recruit, J.T. Moore, chipped in with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

“We’ve talked all year how we have to play unselfish,” said Goske. “We have eight, nine guys that can contribute and they can be different guys on different nights.

“I think our guys have bought into that and that will be the key to our success.”

The Spartans used its athletic ability and tremendous height advantage to get out to an early lead with an onslaught of points coming in the paint.

Boardman (3-2, 1-2) pressured the Falcons’ talented guard trio of Will Mahone, DeAndre Richardson and Tyron Underwood and was able to force turnovers that led to easy baskets.

Once the Spartans had the ball, DiBernardi and Mark Popovec had the early hot hand shooting the ball in the first quarter.

Popovec knocked down three baskets for six points while DiBernardi added five points.

“We played hard and we came out got after them a little bit defensively,” said Goske. “We were able to create some turnovers and I was really happy with the way we pushed the ball offensively.

“We have decent athletes and we want to get out and run. That’s when we think we are at our best.”

The Spartans’ inside game which features Moore along with 6-foot-5 Chase Hammond, who will play football at Wisconsin next year, and sophomore Dayne Hammond, began to take a toll on the Falcons.

“We wanted to dominate in the paint,” Goske said. “We felt we had an advantage inside and that was an area we should be able to dominate in and I’m glad we were able to get the job done inside tonight.”

Dayne Hammond came off the bench in the second quarter and scored eight points while Chase Hammond and Moore controlled the boards. Boardman outrebounded the Falcons 47-34. At halftime, the Spartans controlled a 42-25 lead.

“When you give a team nothing but layups it’s difficult to win,” said first-year Fitch coach Jason Baker. “Defensively we didn’t play well at all.

“We’ve got to figure out a way to play better against big teams because we are always going to be smaller than most teams when we step on the court,” Baker said. “We can’t use that as an excuse or crutch.

“We have to find a way to get the job done.”

It was much more of the same in the third quarter as Robinson and Moore helped Boardman push the lead out to 58-37 before Fitch mounted a mini-rally in the final four minutes of the game.

Fitch (1-5, 0-3) was led in scoring by Mahone who had 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Richardson and Underwood each knocked in 11 points while Terry Terrigno added seven points and seven rebounds.

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