By Greg Gulas
The last time the Canfield and Boardman boys basketball teams met, the Cardinals needed overtime for a 64-58 victory.
Canfield’s Ian McGraw made sure that Tuesday’s game with the Spartans didn’t need an extra session.
McGraw had a game-high 19 points, Zach Tinkey added 13 points and Aydin Hanousek 10 to lead Canfield to a 62-48 victory over Boardman in an All-American Conference Red Tier contest at the James W. Watkins Gymnasium.
“We’ve been playing a lot harder and have grown as a team since the last time we played them,” McGraw said, adding that Coach Todd Muckleroy told them before the game to play their game and everything else would fall into place.
“Our game is to pass and cut, screen well, post up and kick the ball out to the open man,” McGraw said. “We’re a team with a lot of great shooters, but our offense starts with great defense and tonight we played well at both ends of the court.”
A triple by McGraw and buckets by Hanousek and Ben Shapiro staked Canfield (10-5, 6-2) to the early 7-0 lead.
When Derrick Anderson nailed his only bucket of the game at the 2:03 mark, it closed an 11-3 run by Boardman (5-9, 2-5) for the Spartans’ first lead before settling for a 13-13 deadlock heading to the second frame.
Back-to-back triples by Tinkey and McGraw knotted the game at 25-all at 2:38 of the second quarter, but four points by McGraw and a lay-up by Conor Crogan helped the Cardinals end the half on a 6-0 run for a 31-25 lead at the intermission.
It was a run that Spartans head coach Pat Birch said shifted the game’s momentum.
“We’re a team that plays hard no matter what and with the game tied right before intermission, that six-point run by Canfield was big for them,” Birch said. “A shot here, a rebound there and it’s a different game.
“We needed to answer that run at the beginning of the third period, but didn’t.”
A triple by Tinkey increased the Canfield lead to 36-28, but a Che Trevena bucket from beyond the arc and a hoop by Holden Lipke cut the Cardinals’ lead to 36-33.
But it was the closest Boardman could get as the Cardinals opened a 43-33 advantage.
Tinkey scored 10 of his 13 points in the second half.
“The other day we watched film of that first game and knew that we would have to shut down Holden [Lipke],” Tinkey said. “We had to make sure that he didn’t take over the game”
Lipke scored 13.
“He’s capable of scoring so much more, so credit our defense because it was team effort in that area tonight,” Tinkey said.
A Hanousek jumper increased the Canfield lead to 54-40 with 3:23 to play, but two charity tosses by Cam Kreps cut the Cardinals’ lead to 56-48.
Canfield reeled off the final six points of the game.
Canfield registered nine 3-pointers and assisted on 17 of their 22 overall buckets.
“It shows you just how unselfish we were with our offensive distribution,” Muckleroy said. “We have a lot of excellent shooters on this team and while we lean on Ian and Zach to make plays, anyone on any given night can make plays.”