Canfield’s 25-1 run changes momentum against East
to get past East
By Greg Gulas
The Canfield boys basketball team opened the season with five straight wins, but had lost two straight and three of four heading into Tuesday’ nights matchup with East.
It was game the Cardinals desperately needed if they expected to remain atop the All-American Conference Red Tier standings.
Ian McGraw scored 17 points, Zach Tinkey had 13 and Ethan Kalina and Aydin Hanousek each added 12 as the Cardinals overcame an 11-point, first-half deficit in a 63-48 victory at James W. Watkins Gymnasium.
Trailing 35-28 at the 5:54 mark of the third period, the Cardinals (7-3, 4-0) used a 25-1 run to forge a 53-36 advantage mid-way through the final frame to create some much needed breathing room in order to halt their modest tailspin.
“We knew going into the game that East was an excellent shooting team and they shot really well in the opening half,” McGraw said. “At halftime, coach [Todd] Muckleroy told us to relax and just play our game, especially against a team like East because they like to trap and force you into mistakes. The game plan going in was to slow the ball down and not play at their pace.
“Once we break the press, then the advantage is to us because we have some very good shooters. When we break the press, we can get a good shot but if we make the extra pass, then we can get a better shot.”
A triple and jumper by McGraw, and four points by Kalina staked the Cardinals to a 9-5 lead at 4:16 of the opening period.
The Golden Bears (4-4, 2-2) then went on a 14-2 run to close the quarter as they opened a 19-11 lead after the first eight minutes of action.
Tyrell Davis’ six points and triples from Larry Ransom and Keshon Lowry ignited the East run.
A triple by Shannon Dubose gave the Golden Bears their largest lead of the game at 28-16 with 3:33 remaining in the period, but Kalina and Conor Crogan each nailed buckets from beyond the arc as Canfield closed the half on a 7-2 run to pull to within 30-23 heading to the half.
“There’s no seven-point play in basketball, so coming out for the second half our goal was to chip away at their lead, get stops, look for a three-on-two situation or easy lay-up. Then the points would follow,” Kalina added. “We just wanted to get the best look possible at the bucket each time we had the ball.”
After Tim Williams canned the first of his two charity tosses at 5:54 of the third frame, the Golden Bears opened a 35-28 lead.
Little did they know then, but it would be the last bucket they would score for the next 10:39 as the Cardinals’ 25-1 run opened a 17-point lead with a little over three minutes remaining.
The run proved to be too much for head coach Dennis Simmons’ Golden Bears to overcome.
“It was a tale of two halves and in the second half, we had some blown coverage’s and just didn’t execute like we did in the opening half,” Simmons said. “We need to get better with our assignments, and we will.”
While the Golden Bears executed in the opening session, Muckleroy’s Cardinals struggled with their open looks.
“We knew that we needed to execute better in the second half and shot really well after the intermission,” Muckleroy noted. “We looked for one another and were able to find the open man, which was big. It must be our end of the court.
“We lost to some pretty good teams, so this win was huge because it gets us back on the winning track and keeps us undefeated in the league. We’ll take it game by game, play in the present and just look to get better and improve each time out.”
The Cardinals canned 12 triples overall, including three each by McGraw and Tinkey. The Golden Bears were just as deadly from beyond the arc, nailing seven, including three from Dejon Rogers.
Rogers finished with 11 points for East.