Cardinals overcome a slow start to knock-off the Clippers


Katie Hough led the Cardinals with 12 points in the victory over the Clippers

COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) – The Cardinal Mooney Cardinals girls basketball team didn’t start Thursday game very well, but they sure finished strong.  Digging themselves a 12-point deficit at the start of their game with Columbiana, the Cardinals battled back to win 46-41 over the Clippers.

The victory improves the Cardinals record to 2-1 on the season, while the Clippers drop to 1-3.

“We came out pretty sluggish.  We got some decent looks, but we just couldn’t put the ball in the basket.  Defensively, we really struggled in the first half and that is kind of the calling card of our team,” Cardinals coach Jason Baker said.

The Clippers were celebrating senior night and came out of the gates on fire as they built a quick 12-0 lead following a basket by Tori Long at the 3:07 mark of the first quarter.  The Clippers would hold a 16-8 advantage at the end of the stanza.

“We didn’t back down at the beginning.  We hit some shots early which helped.  They came out of the gate just like I wanted them to.  In your mind you know that’s probably not sustainable, but you want to try to keep building on it,” Clipper coach David Crismon remarked.

The Cardinals looked to start gaining traction midway through the second quarter when they cut the deficit down to just 5-points at 20-15, but the Clippers would close the half with a three-pointer by Cassie Spaite and a bucket by Camille Zentner to hold a 25-17 lead at intermission.

But the Cardinals came out in the second half and grabbed the momentum with a 9-0 run to take their first lead at 26-25 at the 5:17 mark of the period on a three by Gia Divencenzo.  The Cardinals held a 35-30 lead at the end of the quarter.
“I feel like that is the key to our team if we rebound the basketball.  Tonight was the best that we rebounded out of our three games so far,” Baked pointed to the key to winning the game.

The Cardinals held off the Clippers from making any run at them in the final period.  Gia Diorio would convert three of her four free throws tries in the finals 34-seconds of the contest to seal the victory for the Cardinals.

Katie Hough would lead the Cardinals in scoring with 12 points while Alaina Scavina added 9.  Scavina also hauled in 7 rebounds while Maria Fire added 6.

“She means a lot to us every game,” Baker remarked about Hough.  “When she struggled a little bit in the first half our offense kind of struggles with her.  But she does what she does.  She picked us up in the second half and really played well.”

The loss overshadowed a tremendous performance by the Clippers Grace Witmer who scored a game-high 19 points.  Tori Long added 11 points in the Clipper effort.  Addie Zohnd grabbed 7 rebounds while Camille Zentner added 6 to help the Clippers on the boards.

“I was very proud of our girls,” Crisom said.  “On paper, this was probably a mismatch but we went out and played with them.”

The Cardinals return to action this Saturday when they host Austintown Fitch.  The Clippers also return to action Saturday when they host Grand Valley.

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