Canfield High’s Sabrina Mangapora moved her arms from side to side and took a deep breath.
Standing at the foul line with three minutes, 47 seconds left in the second quarter of Saturday’s opening-season game against Marlington, she caught the ball from the referee and lined up the free-throw attempt.
With a slight jump and a bank off the backboard, Mangapora gave the Cardinals a 17-point lead.
It was also the 1,000th point of her career.
“I was told before the game that I was close,” Mangapora said after Canfield’s 65-40 win. “I kind of lost track in my mind while it was going on.”
She finished with 25 points as the Cardinals got revenge from a early season, 53-47, loss to the Dukes in 2011.
“It feels great getting that first win off our back in the first game,” said Abby Baker, who added 12 points with a pair of 3-pointers.
Baker was one of the first girls to give her fellow senior a hug after her milestone basket.
“Not only is she a great girl, she’s a great basketball player,” Baker said. “That was a nice moment to kick off the season for us.”
Earlier in the week, Mangapora signed a letter of intent to play volleyball at Ball State.
“Her going to college and signing the letter for a full-ride is awesome,” Canfield coach Pat Pavlansky said. “She won’t worry about that all season and wondering what she’s going to do. It’s nice that it worked out.
“She gets 1,000 points out of the way, too.”
Including Baker and Mangapora, the Cardinals (1-0) return five seniors from last year’s district championship team. Kayla Barko scored 10 points, Alison Pavlansky added four, while sophomore and second-year starting point guard, Rachel Tinkey, had eight with four assists and two steals.
“We were giving great effort,” Pavlansky said. “It’s the first game of the year, we took some shots that we know we can make, but we missed them. And that’s jitters, maybe. We did a much better job in the second half. We work hard in trying to get the best shots we can.”
At the 3:44 mark of the fourth quarter, he emptied the bench.
“We’re going to get better,” Pavlansky said. “They know that and I know that. We’re trying to incorporate some younger kids and have some depth. To develop confidence, you have to succeed at this level. That’s happening, little by little.”
Ali Rodgers led Marlington (0-1) with 21 points and Sierra Mayle added 10. Canfield out-rebounded the Dukes, 36-14 and Mangapora grabbed 13. She now stands at 1,014 in points.
“If she wants to score another 1,000 points along the way, we’ll gladly give her another basketball for 2,000,” Pavlansky said.
With a laugh, Mangapora added, “It’d be nice. I’m not focusing on myself, I just want us to play well and win.”