Canfield surges with strong 4th quarter
Canfield surges with strong 4th
By Tom Williams
Minus their top scorer, Boardman’s girls basketball players responded by giving Canfield fits for three quarters.
But in the final frame, the Cardinals’ stifling defense limited the Spartans to two points in a 49-39 victory Wednesday.
“They are always a good team to play, they are very aggressive,” said Canfield senior guard Serena Sammarone of the Spartans (10-9, 3-6 All-American Conference Red).
The Cardinals’ latest 1,000th-point scorer said the back-and-forth game was good preparation for the Division I tournament.
“That’s something you see once you get farther and farther into the playoffs, you see more aggressive teams,” the four-year starter said.
“We were struggling a lot offensively tonight. Our defense carried us — we were very persistent. We had a lot of grit tonight.”
As did the Spartans, who are without sophomore Maria Torres who is out with a knee injury. Boardman head coach Jeff Hammerton said Torres averages 18 points and seven rebounds.
“They responded and that is what I am so proud of,” Hammerton said, noting that Spartans led 39-38 in the fourth quarter. “We just got ice cold.“
And Canfield (14-4, 6-2) sizzled.
“We got stops in the fourth quarter, which we haven’t always done consistently this year ” Canfield coach Matt Reel said. “We did a better job rebounding and we made a couple of big shots.”
Boardman sophomore Raegan Burkey made two free throws to give the Spartans their final lead.
Canfield sophomore guard Marissa Ieraci hit a 3-pointer, then Sammarone hit two free throws. She added another in the Cards’ 11-0 run down the stretch.
Sammarone finished with eight points, three steals and two rebounds. Ieraci led the Cards with 13 points and junior Grace Mangapora scored 12 and made five rebounds.
Burkey scored 22, including all 10 of the Spartans’ points in the first quarter.
“She’s a warrior, an absolute warrior,” Hammerton said. “She makes a mistake, she doesn’t sulk about it, she drives back to the other end.
”It’s a grind scoring against Canfield — they run a very discipline, half-court man defense.”
Burkey credited her teammates “for diving after those loose balls, boxing out. We had extra motivation. We usually look to get the ball to her [so] we had to figure some other things out.”
Sammarone’s career milestone came last Saturday in a win against Ashtabula Lakeside. She needed seven points so when she had five and drove for a layup, she knew what the basket meant.
“It was an awesome feeling‚ö I finally got a goal I had set when I was in middle school,” said Sammarone, who will play for the University of Findlay next year and is undecided on her major. “It was nice that I finally got the satisfaction that I’ve hit most of the goals that I’ve set.”
Reel said: “It’s been an absolute blast coaching her. She one of the more dedicated and committed players that I’ve ever coached — one of the best competitors.”