By Doug Chapin
WARREN — Sometimes the result of an athletic contest looks different depending on one’s point of view.
Such was the case with Harding High’s 73-63 boys basketball victory Friday night over Chaney High.
The Raiders (15-2), ranked fifth in the state in Division I by the Associated Press, led 25-18 after one quarter and 42-29 at halftime. Harding’s lead grew to 55-36 with 3:01 left in the third period and was 58-44 at the end of the quarter.
But Chaney (5-14), which came into the game on a six-game losing streak, kept plugging away and got as close as 63-56 with 3:14 remaining in the game. Harding scored the next five points and was able to close out the contest from there.
Chaney coach Josh Marsh was upbeat after the game.
“I told these guys they could play with anybody in the state, I don’t care what rank they are,” he said. “You just took the fifth-ranked team in the state of Ohio in Division I to the fourth quarter. No one expected this, but you only got beat by 10 points.
“I’m not happy we got beat, but I am happy with the effort, the intensity, the way they played together as a team. Because the last three weeks, we’ve played terrible. Our effort has been horrible, our intensity has been horrible. I told these guys if they didn’t come out intense and focused, they could get beat by 40.”
Harding coach Steve Arnold was thinking to some degree about the Raiders’ final home game of the season, tonight against Shaker Heights.
“We didn’t play particularly well, but we were up 19 and I subbed,” he said. “We’re thinking that tomorrow (Saturday) we have a talented Shaker Heights team coming in and we’re trying to rest some of our starters. We allowed them (Chaney) to get back in the game by playing our subs.
“I wanted them (the subs) to get the majority of the time because I wanted our first seven guys to be ready to go tomorrow. We let them back in the game and I told our team that I expect them to maintain the lead when we substitute, but I don’t think the game was in doubt.”
Kennis White recorded 19 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals for the Raiders. Tre’ Brown added 13 points, six assists and five rebounds and Angel Gonzales had eight points, five rebounds and four assists. Dominique Murray contributed nine points and six rebounds.
“Our intensity was good for the first quarter and a half,” Arnold said. “Then once our kids, and again they’re kids, once they knew that we seemed to be in command of the game, the intensity level dropped off. We talked about it at halftime, try to maintain the intensity.
“We substituted in the third quarter and boom, you saw the intensity level go down. As a coaching staff we weren’t pleased with that, but that happens.”
The Raiders finish the regular season next week at East High on Thursday and at undefeated Mansfield Senior, the third-ranked Division I team in the state. Harding, the top seed in the Division I sectional-district at Solon, plays its first tournament game March 6 against Maple Heights or Cleveland Lincoln West.
Chaney, which completes its regular season against Ursuline, plays March 3 against the state’s eighth-ranked team, North Canton Hoover, in the sectional-district at Canton.
Friday night the Cowboys were led by Khimani Chism with 15 points, Ken Strong with 14, Anthony Cornell with 11 and Tyrell Howell with 10.