By Doug Chapin
The No. 4-ranked Raiders are 8-0 after an 83-53 win over Boardman.
WARREN — Maybe it was the unfamiliar surroundings. After all, Warren Harding High had not played a game in its new gymnasium since Dec. 6.
And perhaps it’s just nitpicking anyway, pointing out a slow start in a game the Raiders eventually won, 83-53, over Boardman Tuesday night at the new Warren school to remain undefeated.
But even coach Steve Arnold mentioned the slow start for his team (8-0), rated fourth in the state in this week’s Associated Press Division I poll.
“I thought we would come out with a little bit more energy at the outset,” Arnold said. “After Saturday’s win, we came back home and talked yesterday in practice about coming out with some energy.
“But we didn’t do that and I was a little bit disappointed in that,” Arnold said.
“But we got it going and were able to do what we like to do.”
The slow start consisted of Harding not scoring for the first 2 Ω minutes of the game and falling behind 11-6 midway through the first quarter.
But that was the extent of the Raiders’ woes as they put together a 12-2 run to close the quarter with an 18-13 lead.
Harding then used a 20-6 run in the second quarter to build a 43-24 advantage at halftime.
Senior guards Sheldon Brogdon and Desmar Jackson led the way as usual. Brogdon made six-of-10 3-point shots on the way to 22 points and Jackson stuffed the stats sheet with 15 points, six assists, six steals, five rebounds and two blocks.
“That’s why his [Brogdon’s] nickname is ‘The Microwave.’ We’ve seen it for three years, “ Arnold said about the sharp-shooting Brogdon. “He can get on a string where he’s feeling it and he can just catch and shoot. What’s impressive about Sheldon is he elevates on his shot and it’s hard to block.
“I thought Desmar played a good floor game for us tonight, he distributed the basketball and rebounded,” Arnold said. “We’ve talked to him about putting consecutive good games together. He’s a very good player but we want him to be more consistent.”
The Raiders supported their two stars with 11 points from Angel Gonzalez and seven points, seven assists and four steals from Fred Williams.
Boardman (4-8) was paced by Eric Soller with 14 points and Jordan Karzmer with 10. J.T. Moore was held to six points but also dished out five assists.
The Spartans had trouble with Harding’s pressure defense, being victimized for 13 steals while committing five turnovers.
Arnold said the Raiders are developing depth as the season goes along.
“We have defined roles, but we need some more production out of some guys,” Arnold said. “To get where we want to get to we just need a little bit more out of some of the guys.”