Young Spartans take charge
Boardman juniors power win over East in opener
By Greg Gulas
A season ago, Boardman’s Daeone Martin was starring on the Spartans’ junior varsity team while teammate Derrick Anderson earned just six varsity starts.
During Friday’s season opener against East, the junior classmates had no trouble transitioning to leadership roles expected of them by head coach Pat Birch.
Martin scored a game-high 24 points in his first varsity start, Anderson added 21 points and the two combined for 45 points to lead the Spartans to a 65-48 win over the Golden Bears in the season opener.
Both players agreed that Birch’s speech at halftime — East held a 27-26 lead — was all the motivation the team needed to turn things around after intermission.
“Coach told us to keep playing tough defense, hustle, give the effort that we do in practice and things would turnaround in the second half,” Martin said. “He said to keep pushing the ball offensively and play pressure defense.
“We enjoy getting after the ball and will need to play tough defensively all season.”
With the Spartans ahead 6-4, the Golden Bears reeled off the next eight points, which included triples by Damico Jackson III and Carl Sadler.
Four points by Martin and a bucket Boardman’s Tommy Fryda knotted the score at 12-12.
Martin scored 10 of the Spartans’ next 12 points as they forged a 24-23 lead, but a free throw by Sadler and bucket from beyond the arc by Deland Richardson staked the Golden Bears to a one-point halftime margin.
Of East’s 33 total turnovers, 16 were committed in the opening half.
“I’d like to have half of those turnovers back,” first-year Golden Bears head coach Kevin Cyler said. “Our guys haven’t seen much varsity action and will need to mature fast.
“Carl and freshman Tim Davis both came to play and did an excellent job tonight. We need to mentally focus on the little things right now.”
Two buckets by Mar’Quel Anderson, his only points of the game, and a hoop in the lane by Richardson extended the East lead to 33-30 three minutes into the third period before Anderson took charge for the Spartans.
Anderson, who scored just two points at halftime, keyed a 19-3 Spartans run with 10 of his 12 points in the quarter as Boardman opened a 49-36 margin with eight minutes remaining.
They never looked back.
“Defense is our strength right now and we love pressuring our opponents,” Anderson said. “We kept our composure in the second half.”
Six consecutive points by Martin gave Boardman their largest lead of the game at 59-39 with 4:31 remaining. Anderson scored five of Boardman’s final six points.
“At one point we were 0-13 from three-point range, but had the right guys taking those shots so it was just a matter of time before those shots would fall,” Birch said. “We knew that Daeonne could play and he worked really hard in the off-season.
“Derrick also had an excellent game and you couldn’t ask for a better start to both of their seasons.”
The Spartans had 15 steals, turning East’s 33 turnovers into 16 points.
Richardson led East with 14 points while Sadler was the only other Golden Bear in double-figures with 11.