By Brandon judeh
It was a new location, but the same result for the Canfield High girls basketball team.
The Cardinals are one win away from the state tournament after defeating Parma Heights Holy Name 52-30 Tuesday in a Division II regional semifinal at Barberton High School.
Once again it was the Cardinals’ (26-1) defense that dictated the game, especially early on.
Canfield held the Green Wave (16-10) to two first-quarter points on five shots and dominated the boards.
“The further you go in the tournament, the more crucial rebounding is,” said Canfield senior Sabrina Mangapora. “The more possessions you have, the more chances you have to score and win the game.”
Canfield out-rebounded Holy Name 32-19 and it was a good thing because the Cardinals struggled from the field, shooting 33 percent.
“We knew that since we weren’t making shots that we had to crash the boards and play really good defense or else we weren’t going to make it to the next round,” said Barko.
After scoring only six first-quarter points the Cards bounced back with 16 in the second thanks to momentum changing 3s from both Mangapora and Paige Baker.
The Green Wave hung strong, though, and went into the locker room down by seven.
Heart and toughness was the story for the Cardinals in the second half as Canfield slowly pulled away from the Green Wave.
“Our girls really showed their heart in the second half,” said Canfield coach Pat Pavlansky. “If you defend, rebound and shoot free throws along with not turning the ball over you have a good chance to win.”
Canfield went 13 of 16 from the charity stripe and only allowed the Green Wave seven shots from the free throw line.
“It’s a big deal for us to make more free throws than our opponents attempt; we have been doing this all season and to be plus six in that category is huge,” added Pavlansky.
The Cardinals only got better as the game progressed, with Barko and Mangapora leading the way down low.
Barko grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds, including four offensive boards, and seemed to always be there when Canfield needed a bucket.
“It’s always big to be able to grab the offensive board and score off of second-chance baskets,” said Barko. “We started off slow, but again the rebounding and defense was huge for us tonight.”
Barko finished with a double-double scoring 12 points to go along with her 10 rebounds, Mangapora scored 13 and Abby Baker and Rachel Tinkey each added nine points.
Holy Name junior forward Kim Cook scored 13 and grabbed eight rebounds. Teammate Erica Davis chipped in with nine points.
Next up for the Cardinals will be a familiar opponent in Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown. The Blazers defeated the Cardinals 52-30 last season on their way to their fourth straight Division II state championship last season.
“We just need to go all out on every single play, which we have been doing a very good job of the past few games,” said Mangapora. “It’s gotten us this far so we need to keep doing what we are doing.”