Lipke hits 1,000 points to help Boardman beat Mooney
Boardman senior cracks 1,000 points, tops Mooney
By Brian Dzenis
Holden Lipke made himself at home at Cardinal Mooney on Friday night.
The Boardman senior led the Spartans to a 61-43 victory and has exactly 1,000 career points after carving up the Cardinals with 27. He hit the milestone in the game’s final minute, which brought the loudest cheers from Boardman’s fans chanting his name. He waved back to the crowd.
“My teammates really helped me through the years really. I can’t even name all the guys that helped me get here,” Lipke said. “Once we got to the second half, the guys knew I was getting closer and kept feeding me the ball.”
Lipke is averaging around 17 points, coach Pat Birch said. The coach didn’t come into Mooney thinking Lipke would crack 1,000, so he kept things low-key.
“We knew he was 27 points shy, so I didn’t want to make a big deal about it,” Birch said. “Twenty-seven is a lot for a high school kid. It would take a big night and I didn’t want to put any added pressure on him.
“I know all his buddies have been asking him how close he is for the past week
In addition to being the tallest player on the Spartans’ roster and being trusted to be an interior defender, Lipke showed a deft touch from outside. He made five 3-pointers on Friday.
The forward was the leading scorer from last-year’s 20-5 team, the first Boardman team to have a winning record since the 2010-11 season.
“He’s been a kid that I’ve looked at early in my coaching career as one that I knew would be a very important piece,” Birch said. “I knew he was going to be an important basketball player for us. Each year he got better and better.”
Mooney (4-10) had the initial upper hand. Anthony Fire repeatedly attacked the basket for eight first quarter points as the Cardinals took a 20-12 lead. The good times didn’t last as center Vinny Gentile took a hard fall in the final minute of the opening quarter, injuring his left leg after blocking a shot. The future Youngstown State football player didn’t return to the game.
Gentile didn’t have any points, but Mooney’s offense imploded after his exit. Boardman (8-9) held Mooney to two points in the second quarter and eight in the third while building a 20-point lead.
“Our defense wasn’t great in the first quarter. We weren’t giving a great effort and we weren’t rebounding well,” Lipke said. “Coach kind of got on us and challenged us and I’d say we lived up to it.”
As Mooney floundered, Lipke fourished. He had just five points in the first half, but made four of his five 3-pointers. The Spartans had a 18-point lead going into the fourth quarter, but Lipke remained in the game.
“With all due respect to Mooney, we didn’t try to show anyone up by any means, but we thought it was the right thing to do to let him go for it,” Birch said. “I didn’t say anything to Mooney because I didn’t want to give them fuel by saying, ‘Hey, we’re shoving Lipke at you,’ For me it’s the first time I’ve had a kid reach this threshold, so I was just going with it.”
After he hit the layup for the mark, tempers flared up for the home side. Mooney leading scorer Pete Haas — who had 17 points — pushed Boardman’s Dom Stilliana. After a brief scrum between the two teams, Haas and teammate Terrell Brown were removed from the game. Stillman sat on the bench for the final minute. Officials assessed the situation as a double technical for both sides, but did not formally eject the two Cardinals.