Spartans dedicate win to injured mate
By MIKE McLAIN
It wasn’t simply the sight of the Cardinal Mooney Cardinals that motivated the Boardman Spartans Wednesday night.
Not seeing freshman teammate Maria Torres on the floor was the primary factor that had the Spartans energized. Torres, who would have played varsity, was told this week that she will miss the season because of a torn knee ligament.
It took the Spartans most of three quarters to find an offensive flow. Once they did, the charge was led by senior Katelyn Sawyer, who scored 11 of her game-high 19 points in the fourth quarter as Boardman posted a 40-34 win in the season opener for both teams.
“The girls wanted to dedicate this game to [Torres] and go out and win for her,” Spartans coach Jeff Hammerton said.
One of the biggest fielders for the Spartans was a jumper by Katie Stamp as the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter. The shot tied the score at 26 and clearly gave a boost to Boardman.
Sawyer, who sat out last season to concentrate on soccer, opened the fourth quarter with a 3-point shot from the right corner. After a fielder by Mooney’s Lauren Frommelt, Sawyer made another 3-point shot from the same spot as the earlier basket. The only difference was she unintentionally banked in the shot.
“I wasn’t expecting that,” Sawyer said.
Hammerton told Sawyer to continue to put up 3-point shots whenever possible. She followed the advice and after missing a few made another from beyond the arc to snap a 32-32 tie.
Moments later Boardman freshman Raegan Burkey, who scored 11 points, drove the right lane uncovered after grabbing a rebound. With all of her teammates trailing the play, Hammerton’s wish was for her to hold up and wait for help. Burkey took an ill-advised shot that went in to extend the lead to 37-32.
“She’s a freshman,” Hammerton said. “When she took the shot we all went ‘no … no … no’ When it went in, he [an assistant] said you have to live with the good and the bad.”
The Cardinals led 12-11 after the first period but trailed 21-16 at halftime. Mooney exerted more defensive pressure in the third quarter and scored 10 of the first 12 points of the session.
The worst statistic for the Cardinals was a 0-of-11 performance at the foul line.
“We didn’t execute well. We didn’t finish at the rim and we were 0-for-11 at the free-throw line,” Cardinals coach Jason Baker said. “Some nonchalant turnovers. When you do those things against a good program like Boardman, it’s going to make it hard to win.”
There will be growing pains for the Spartans, who lost 39 of the 48 points a game they averaged last season. For one night, however, the thrill of getting a win for an injured teammate was all that mattered.
“The game was to win it for her for all she’s been through,” Sawyer said.