Lipke, Spartans take care of Bears

Boardman defense

shuts down East

By Greg Gulas


For the past four seasons, Holden Lipke has been an offensive threat for head coach Pat Birch’s Boardman Spartans.

Right now, it’s the defense that excites the most recent addition to the Spartans’ career 1,000-point club.

Lipke had a game-high 20 points, Che Trevena added 12 and the Boardman defense held East High to just one of 18 from beyond the arc as they defeated the Golden Bears, 58-34 in an All-American Conference Red Tier game at the Spartans Gymnasium.

The win gave Boardman a season sweep of their conference foes, having defeated the Golden Bears 76-56 on Feb. 3.

“In looking back at the season, it has been disappointing as far as wins and losses are concerned but each week, we’ve gotten better and I feel like we are starting to click right now,” said Lipke, who scored his 1,000th point against Cardinal Mooney last Friday.

“The key tonight was that once we broke their press we weren’t timid in going to the bucket. Playing defense like we are right now will only be beneficial with two regular-season games remaining and the upcoming tournament set to begin.”

Two buckets by East’s Larry Ransom staked the Golden Bears (9-12, 5-8 AAC Red Tier) to the early 8-7 advantage, but five points by Lipke keyed a quarter-ending 12-5 run as Boardman (8-12, 4-6) opened a 19-13 leading heading to the second period.

Trevena added seven of his 12 points in the second quarter, the Spartans’ defense held East scoreless for a 4:59 stretch and without a field goal for 8:34 as they built a 32-19 margin heading to the locker rooms.

“This a motivational booster for everyone,” Trevena said. “We struggled at times this season and a few of our losses could have gone either way, but we’re hitting our stride right now and looking to finish on a positive note with tournament play right around the corner.”

After scoring 13 points in the opening quarter, the Spartans outscored the Golden Bears by a 32-11 count in the middle two frames, allowing just six points in the second period and five after intermission as they built a 51-24 advantage with eight minutes remaining.

“In the opening period, we ran the offense and executed. After that, we just weren’t disciplined,” Golden Bears head coach Dennis Simmons said. “We’ve been up and down and right now, I’m just looking to find the right combination of players who will play four quarters.”

A free throw by Derrick Anderson midway through the final period gave Boardman its largest lead of the game, 56-26 before four points by East’s Kemon’Dre Muhammad helped the Golden Bears end the game on an 8-2 run.

“You always look to build confidence at the end of the season. With everyone contributing and the fact we were able to hold a team like East to just 34 points, I feel like we are hitting our stride,” Birch noted. “We had some close losses and some other things didn’t go our way, but this team has handled that adversity really well and are playing their best ball right now.”

Tyrell Davis led the Golden Bears with seven points as the Golden Bears were just 12 of 50 from the field.

The Spartans canned 23 of 49 field goal attempts and were actually better from 3-point range than they were from the charity stripe.

They were six of 17 from beyond the arc and just six of 19 from the line.

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