Canfield finishes strong against Howland
Cardinals still perfect
in AAC’s Red Tier
By dan hiner
The Howland girls basketball team came out strong during a game against Canfield. But the Tigers made just two field goals in the final three minutes of the fourth quarter in their 53-49 loss to the Cardinals on Saturday night.
The combination of Grace Mangapora, Serena Sammarone and Jill Baker was too much for the Tigers in the second half.
Canfield (10-3, 7-0 All-American Conference Red Tier) took a 48-47 lead with 2:26 to play in the fourth on a Baker free throw.
Mangapora scored four of the Cardinals final five points to push the game out of reach.
Howland (11-4, 5-2 AAC Red Tier) had a 11-6 lead at the start of the second quarter. But the Cardinals started scoring in transition, and began to tire out the Tigers.
The Cardinals outscored the Tigers 17-9 in the fourth quarter by shooting 8 of 13 from the free-throw line.
“I thought we were doing some things out of character,” Canfield head coach Matt Reel said. “They had some really good pressure on us tonight. I think it took us a while to just settle down.”
Mangapora finished with a game-high 19 points, eight rebounds and a block. Baker had 14 points, six rebounds and a steal.
“Once we get going, there’s no stopping us,” Mangapora said. “We have such a strong chemistry and strong cohesion, it’s unbelievable when we play our game.”
Mangapora didn’t play in the Cardinals’ 68-65 win over the Tigers on Dec. 6. The sophomore said the Tigers were shifting their defense toward Baker and Sammarone. Mangapora said she found open holes in the defense in the paint for easy baskets.
“It’s all on my teammates,” Mangapora said. “My teammates can find every opening. When they were doubled Serena can find me, Jill can find me. When they leave to go help one of our strongest players, that’s when we would find openings in the paint.”
Howland head coach John Diehl said his team had trouble making shots in the second half, and credited Sammarone for leading the Cardinals’ defense. Sammarone had 14 points, eight rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
“Sammarone’s a great player,” Diehl said. “Very athletic and hard to contain. She got some steals, she made some good shots, penetrated, dished off. She did a good job tonight.”
Alex Ochman had another double-double, leading the Tigers with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Mackenzie Maze and Gabby Hartzell both scored 12 points for Howland. Hartzell fouled out with 10 seconds remaining. Hartzell had three rebounds, three steals and a block.
Diehl said the Tigers will need help after losing their second conference game.
“Now we got two league losses, and there are a couple teams that could beat Canfield, but it’ll take a special night on their part to beat them,” he said.
Mangapora said beating the Tigers was important because it will help the Cardinals play through the monotony most teams experience in the middle of the season.
“Now we have to focus on the next game,” she said. “This was just another big game and I’m glad we pulled through. Towards the middle of the season you sometimes get down. This definitely brought our energy way up.”