Spartans surge late for big win over Dragons
Anderson leads Boardman with 25 points while Niles’ Kane-Johnson scores 26
By Steve Ruman
For the first three quarters of Friday’s non-conference game between Boardman and Niles, the Spartans and Red Dragons were nip and tuck.
The first half alone featured 11 lead changes and six ties, and Boardman held a four-point edge after three quarters.
The Spartans then went on a 15-0 run to start the quarter and cruised to an 84-68 road win at Veterans Memorial Gymnasium.
Both teams are 2-1.
Junior Derrick Anderson led a well-balanced Boardman attack with 25 points. He was one of four Spartans to reach double figures.
Daeome Martin scored nine of his 19 in the fourth quarter. Charlie Davis and Cam Kreps each tallied 11 points.
Niles was paced by Cyler Kane-Johnson, who popped in a game-high 26. Corbin Foy, who scored 14, was the only other Red Dragon to reach double digits.
“This was a really nice win, a nice team effort,” Boardman coach Pat Birch said. “In all three of our games, I’ve been really proud of our play. Even Tuesday in our loss against GlenOak, we were really undermanned from a size standpoint and we still fought hard. We’ve had a nice start.”
Both offenses were on target to start the game, resulting in a 26-24 Boardman lead at the end of the first quarter.
Niles held its last lead at 31-30 in the early stages of the second quarter, and the game was tied at 49-49 midway through the third before a Kreps free throw gave the Spartans a lead they didn’t surrender.
The barrage to start the final quarter was paced by Martin, who scored eight points during the 15-0 run.
“Derrick [Anderson] and Daeone [Martin] have done a great job in leading us in scoring this year, but it takes a lot of guys working together to get them their shots,” Birch said. “We did a good job of finding the open look.”
Birch was also happy with the way his team responded following a close first half.
“I think we spent too much time worrying about Niles’ two big guns [Kane-Johnson and Foy] and we lost a little bit of focus. We picked things up in the second half,” Birch said
Boardman held a 33-23 edge in rebounding, and scored 44 of its points in the paint.
Meanwhile, Niles coach Doug Foster said his team didn’t respond well in the second half after Boardman resorted to a box-and-one defense against Kane-Johnson.
“We panicked a little when they switched up defensively, and we took some bad shots,” Foster said. “For three quarters, we hustled, we hit some big shots, we rebounded, then they kicked our butts on the boards and that was the game. Boardman is a good team.”
“That run to start the fourth quarter, I only had one timeout left and I was hesitant to use it. They hit some shots, got some rebounds and quickly established some separation.”
Boardman returns to action today when it plays Girard in the United Way Basketball Classic at Poland. Birch is anxious to get his team right back on the floor.
“You win, and you want to keep going, you want to get right back at it so in that regard I’m glad we’re playing back-to-back like this,” Birch said. “As long as all of our guys are giving 32 minutes of effort, we’re going to develop into a nice team.”