Boardman tops East after slow start
Cam Sly’s 32 points isn’t enough for the Golden Bears in 58-53 road loss
BOARDMAN — The Boardman Spartans only scored five points in the first quarter of their matchup against the Youngstown East Golden Bears on Monday. Despite the slow start, the Spartans earned a much needed 58-53 win as the regular season inches to a close.
It could not have been a worse start for Boardman. The Spartans’ shots were not falling on offense and their defense struggled to slow down their energetic opponents. After one quarter, Boardman found itself trailing East 15-5.
“I thought it was a gut check,” Boardman head coach Pat Birch said. “We didn’t start off the game well. Five points in the first quarter, as many turnovers as we had points. But a lot of that was a lack of activity on both ends of the floor. We stood around on offense, stood around on defense, East was having their way.”
The Spartans had no answer for East junior Cam Sly. Sly was the focal point of the Golden Bears’ offense as he led his team with 32 points. East head coach Chivas Whipple acknowledged the important role Sly plays for his team.
“He’s been coming to practice, getting a lot of shots and working really hard,” Whipple said. “When Cam is locked in, he’s a very special player. We believe in him, he believes in us, and we’ll do anything to make sure he succeeds in life.”
Despite their slow start and the scoring onslaught from Sly, the Spartans battled back and began to build momentum at the end of the first half. A jump shot from Boardman senior Brady DePietro at the end of the second quarter narrowed East’s lead over the Spartans to 25-20.
“Brady’s shot right before halftime was huge,” Birch said. “It gave us a little sigh of relief that we were within two possessions. From there we just had to chip away at it.”
The Spartans saw a big second half from sophomore Kaden Mayhew. The sophomore hit three second half three-pointers and scored 13 of his team-high 17 points in the game’s final two quarters. Boardman is encouraged to see the young guard continue to progress.
“In our last five games he’s had a couple of big shots,” Birch said. “He’s a kid that can score. He’s still figuring it out as a sophomore, when to attack and when not to attack. I think he’s really taken steps in his progress.”
DePietro and sophomore David DiAltorio both added 11 points for Boardman.
Despite the second half surge by the Spartans, the Golden Bears hung tough and were within striking distance until the final buzzer. Whipple believes it just was not his teams night.
“Guys who normally make shots, Jared Colon, Jose Castro, it just wasn’t their night,” Whipple said. “Normally they perform at the highest level of what we ask them to do. But you have those nights where you’re young. I’m more than pleased with my guys and with the performance, we just didn’t get the outcome we wanted.”
With the loss, East falls to an overall record of 8-10. With the victory, Boardman improves to 7-12.
The Spartans are always happy to win. But, at this point in the season, Birch is especially glad about how his team won.
“We needed this,” Birch said. “We haven’t had too many games where we’ve had to come back to get the win. Most of our wins we kind of started fast and then rode that wave. This is really the second game all year where we battled back in the second half. We also went to Massillon Washington and did it, so we’ve just got to catch some momentum here and play consistent down the stretch.”