By Doug Chapin
After stumbling at the start, Chaney rallied to scare Boardman.
AUSTINTOWN — On the opening night of the Holiday Basketball Classic at Fitch High School, the Boardman High squad faced the mass substitution tactics of Poland, eventually losing an 86-67 decision.
On Wednesday, the Spartans ran into another mass substitution situation, this one a spur of the moment change, in their 68-66 victory over Chaney High.
After his team fell behind 16-3 in the first four minutes, Chaney coach Josh Marsh pulled all five of his starters and went to his bench unit.
The move paid off as the Cowboys closed to within 19-14 by the end of the first quarter and gave the Spartans all they could handle the rest of the way.
“We came out in the first quarter and played real well,” Boardman coach Jim Goske said. “I thought we executed offensively, we got after it defensively.
“We rebounded, we got out and ran the floor like we wanted to,” Goske said. “We came out and looked like we were ready to play.
“From there on out, you’ve got to give Chaney some credit, they came out and played harder and started to take it to us offensively and we quit doing well the things we were doing in the first quarter,” Goske said. “We quit executing offensively, we were missing box-outs defensively and we weren’t quite as aggressive on the boards.”
When Chaney’s starters returned early in period two, Boardman (4-3) led 20-16. The Spartans extended the advantage to 31-20 and once again Marsh put his substitutes on the floor.
Chaney (3-4) pulled within 35-30 before Boardman made it 39-30 at the half. The Cowboys subs started the second half, but eventually, because of fatigue and foul trouble, Chaney ended up with a mixture of starters and substitutes.
The Cowboys got to within 54-51 by the end of the third quarter and tied the game at 54 with 6:23 remaining in the game.
The Spartans took the lead for good half a minute later and did just enough down the stretch to hold off the Cowboys, never leading by more than five, but never relinquishing the lead.
“The first five were terrible, absolutely terrible,” Marsh said about the decision to bench his starters. “They were lazy, they had no intensity, it’s as if they didn’t care if they won or if they lost.
“I told all the guys before the game, ‘If you don’t come out ready to play defense and you don’t do what you need to do, I’m taking you out.’
“Well, you know what, none of them were. So I took all five of them out and I put what we call the second five in,” Marsh said. ”You saw what happened. It’s 16-3, I put them in and the next thing you know it’s 19-16.
The five subs who entered for the Cowboys were Terrence Mackie, Khimani Chism, Phillip Hudson, Glen Gunther and Carlos Colon.
“That second five practices hard,” Marsh said. “They know who the starters are and they know they’re here [in practice] to make everybody better. Several of the starters made the comment that the second five played harder tonight because they were more intense in our last practice.
“The thing is, I wish they hadn’t gotten tired. I started them the second quarter and I wanted to go the rest of the half, but I needed to get them a breather,” Marsh said. “I figured with the first five, reality had hit them and if I put them back in we’ll see what happens. But the next thing you know, it’s 31-20 and I’ve got to put the other five back in.
“The second five kept us in the game. If those five guys don’t play the way they did, we get blown off the floor by 20.”
Boardman had most of its success inside and at the foul line. The Spartans shot 47 free throws, making just 27 (57 percent), and shot 20-for-44 (45 percent) on field goals. Chaney was 25-for-59 (42 percent) from the field and 12-for-18 (67 percent) at the line.
“We definitely feel like we have an advantage inside on most teams we play and we want to get out and run,” Goske said. “We’ve got to start making some foul shots, that’s something that has hurt us all year. I don’t know what we shot tonight but I’m sure it wasn’t very good.”
Chase Hammond led the Spartans with 22 points, eight rebounds, four steals and three assists. J.T. Moore had seven rebounds and six assists, Dave DiBernardi scored 10 points and Trae Robinson had seven rebounds, three assists and seven points.
Four players scored in double figures for Chaney. Chism scored 14, Kenny Strong and Colon had 11 each while Gunther tallied 10.