Canfield wins 2nd straight division title
By BRANDON JUDEH
Though it was no shock that Canfield and West Branch met in the Division II girls district championship game, there were some surprises in the Cardinals’ 40-37 win Saturday at Fitch High.
West Branch’s run-and-gun offense was shut out in the second quarter.
Warriors high-scoring guard Melinda Trimmer was held to six points.
Canfield’s potent offense took a patient, conservative route.
For the second straight year, Canfield won the crown in a squeaker over West Branch. The Cards also avenged their only loss of the season.
The packed house wearing green and red received its money’s worth as the area’s two best teams squared off in another nail-biter.
After West Branch (23-3) jumped out to an early two-point advantage, Canfield put on a defensive clinic in the second quarter.
Canfield (25-1) scored only nine points in the quarter, but limited the Warriors’ potent offense.
“Anything is doable with our defense,” senior Allison Pavlansky said. “We also knew that rebounding was going to be a key stat in this game and it really was.”
The Cardinals outrebounded the Warriors 36-14.
“We knew coming into this game that defense wins championships,” Cards senior post player Sabrina Mangapora said. “They love to take 3s and we knew that there were going to be plenty of long rebounds and that they would be crucial.”
Canfield took a seven-point lead into halftime, but West Branch roared back. Key 3-pointers from Brittany Bryte and Taryn Hahn propelled the Warriors to a 15-7 run and gave them a one-point lead.
“We are very proud of our girls, for a young group to be able to survive getting shut out in a quarter and then come back and take the lead in the third shows what kind of girls we have,” West Branch coach Walt DeShields said. “They kept fighting until the very end.”
Despite the momentum swing, Canfield’s resolve proved viable as the Cards went on a 9-0 run. Senior Paige Baker sealed the victory with a drive to the hoop, scored, was fouled and made a free throw. The Cardinals held the Warriors scoreless for the first 4:03 of the fourth quarter.
“[We] seniors got together after they made that run and said ‘If we don’t get it together than this is it, our career’s are over,’” Abby Baker said. “We put it together [quickly] after that.”
Mangapora finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds, Rachel Tinkey scored 10 and grabbed seven boards, and Pavlansky chipped in with seven points.
“At halftime we talked about how hard we worked all season, especially after losing to West Branch early on, and how we didn’t work that hard to come out and blow it in the second half,” Mangapora said.
The Warrior’s Amanda Linhart scored 11 while Bryte scored six.
Canfield will play Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. at Barberton High School against Parma Heights Holy Name.
“We are looking forward to it,” Canfield coach Pat Pavlansky said.