By Greg Gulas
After watching second-half leads dissipate too many times this season, the Boardman High girls basketball team finally found a way to secure one in the end.
Despite a 7:05 scoring drought between the third and fourth periods, the final result was back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
Megan Volosin scored a game-high 19 points while Kelly Tomsanyi added 17 as Boardman defeated visiting Howland 45-35 on Saturday.
“The key was that we played together as a team,” Volosin said. “We knew that in order to win we would have to score when we had the ball, but defensively we needed to limit Gabby Cvengros inside and we were able to do that. The third quarter has been trying for us this season and it almost cost us this afternoon, but we found a way to win and that’s all that counts.”
Volosin was on fire in the first half, nailing 10 points while hitting two of her three buckets from beyond the arc to help Boardman (3-5) to a 17-14 lead after the first eight minutes of play.
Tomsanyi then added eight points and two of her triples in the second frame to help the Spartans build a 29-22 halftime advantage.
“Winning is contagious and we’re hoping a game like this sets the tone for us the rest of the season,” Tomsanyi stated. “We played and stayed together as a team the entire game so this was really a team win.”
Four points by Tomsanyi in the third period helped the Spartans outscore the Tigers 10-4, building a 39-26 margin with eight minutes remaining.
It was the fewest points Howland (4-5) scored in a quarter this season.
“We picked our defensive intensity up a little too late today. With Volosin and Tomsanyi starting as fast as they did we had to play catch up and right now, we’re just not a catch-up team,” Tigers coach John Diehl said. “I never saw so many of our shots rattle around the cylinder and then fall off. That was frustrating.”
After Volosin connected on the front end of a one-and-one with 1:24 remaining in the third quarter to give the Spartans a 39-26 lead, Howland held Boardman scoreless until the 2:19 mark of the final frame.
That’s when Jenna Koczek canned the first of her two free throw attempts for a 40-33 lead.
Boardman then reeled off five of the game’s final seven points.
“This is a game that might have slipped away from us in the past and one that I am glad we were able to secure today,” Boardman coach Jeff Hammerton said. “Our girls figured out a way to win and that is something that we have been hoping to do for quite some time. Megan and Kelly both set the tone for us early and while Megan has been struggling offensively the past few games, her 10 quick points in the opening quarter looked like anything but a struggle.
“Kelly [Tomsanyi] has consistently given us 17-20 points a game, but we need a second scorer like that and Megan [Volosin] is that player for us right now. The only downside was our free throw shooting where we were 13 of 21, missing several front ends of a one-and-one late on the game. That invariably costs you when you are in a close game.”