Reborn Chaney soars with big win at Fitch
By BOB ETTINGER
It had been six long years, not only since a Chaney boys basketball team had won or even taken the court. The Cowboys celebrated their return to varsity action Friday with an 86-57 victory at Austintown Fitch.
“A lot of these kids are too young to understand [what the loss of Chaney sports meant],” Chaney coach Marlon McGaughy said. “A couple of them had uncles or dads who played.
“Not too many of them know the tradition we’re trying to bring back to Chaney.”
It took a few minutes for the Chaney players to get their feet on the ground, but once they did, they took off running.
“This was [the program’s] first game,” McGaughy said. “We have a lot of young kids in the starting lineup. We had to make some adjustments. For some of the kids, it was their first game.”
The Cowboys found their stride with three 3-pointers — two from Cameron Lawrence and one from Sharrod Taylor — as they took a 23-15 advantage heading into the second period.
“We hit a couple of 3s in a row and that got the momentum started,” McGaughy said.
The Falcons (0-1) felt the opposite end of that momentum as starting center A.J. Green left the game with an injury in the opening minutes.
“We saw an impact when we lost our best post player,” Fitch coach Brian Beany said. “He went down in the first three minutes and we lost our best rebounder, our best intimidator in the paint. We hope it isn’t serious.
“On the flip side, injuries happen in sports and we’ve got to have some of those other guys step it up. We didn’t get a lot of guys to pick up that mantle.”
Clavon Morgan’s triple with 4:28 to play in the first half gave the Cowboys a 37-30 advantage. More importantly, the bucket allowed the Cowboys to run into the intermission on a 12-2 spurt in which five different players scored giving Chaney a 46-32 lead ta the break.
“We got caught playing their type of game,” Beany said. “When we start to do that, we start to lose the things we’re good at. We tried to play their game and that’s not us. I was really disappointed in us on the defensive end. They were getting to the basket way too easily. They also beat us up on the boards a bit.”
The Chaney defense ratcheted up the pressure to open the third period and ran away from the Falcons.
“We’ve been working all summer on defense,” McGaughy said. “The offense will come, but we have to stop teams. We got a lot of deflections. We sped up the pace and a lot of teams don’t like when you speed up the pace on them. We weren’t getting a lot of steals, but we were getting deflections and were forcing some turnovers.”
Fitch was outscored, 19-8, in that third quarter.
“It was almost like the first half drained us,” Beany said. “It mentally and emotionally drained us and we couldn’t get our motor started again. I don’t know why. The key is how we handle adversity. I hope we’ll learn from it and the guys gain some experience from it.”