WATCH: Dill’s 17 helps Canfield stave off late charge from South Range

Sports

The Raiders cut a double-digit lead to two late but in the end Canfield held on, improving to 7-1 on the season

CANFIELD, OHIO (WKBN) – The Canfield Cardinals withstood a desperate late-game charge by the South Range Raiders to win 51-44 Monday night on their home court.  With the victory, the Cardinals improve to 7-1 on the season while the Raiders fall to 7-3.

“I think it was a very important game for us,” junior point guard Marissa Ieraci said of the victory. “They are Division III, so a lot of people probably expected us to win.  We had a lot to lose and they had a lot to gain, so I think we just had to prove a lot to show that we can win and are capable and deserved to win.”

The Cardinals were able to take control of the game in the first half as they controlled the boards, getting many second-chance opportunities.  They would build a 15-8 advantage at the end of the first quarter and would increase their lead to 10-points at 25-15 with 3:07 before halftime when Grace Mangapora converted two free throws.  The Cardinals would take a 29-20 lead into the locker rooms at the intermission.

“We found that especially with this group when we win the points in the paint, we are usually a pretty good team,” Cardinals coach Matt Reel stated.  “We are trying to build our team that we kind of attack inside and then work our way out.  No one fouls you if your shooting threes all of the time.  And I think we have some players who can really do some things when we get inside there.”

Alyssa Dill led the Cardinals with 17 points on the night while Grace Mangapora added 14 and Marissa Ieraci chipped in with 11.  Mangapora, Aiden Orlovsky and Gabby Demidovich would each grab 5 rebounds to pace the Cardinals on the boards.

It appeared that the Cardinals were about to finish off the Raiders when they built a 16-point, 38-22 lead following baskets by Mangapora and Dill with 3:10 remaining in the third quarter.  But that is when the Raiders made a gallant come-back bid.

The Raiders would close the third period with a 5-0 run to close the deficit down to 38-27.  Then they would continue to carry the momentum into the fourth quarter as they went on a 12-3 run to make it 41-39 with 3:21 remaining in the game following an inside basket by Mallory Vidman.

“If we were in a boat, we couldn’t throw into the ocean for what seemed to be about ten minutes there,” Reel described the scoring drought for the Cardinals.  “I thought we got really good shots, we just didn’t put any in.  Unfortunately in that stretch, we got a lot of stops, but not a lot of scores.”

“I think we kept our cool which really helped us to come out with the win,” Ieraci said.  “We didn’t get frazzled and start panicking.  That doesn’t help anyone. So I think we really stayed calm and executed when we had to on defense especially.”

But that was as close as the Raiders would get as the Cardinals would score on baskets by Aiden Orlovsky and Dill to push their lead to 45-39 with 1:57 left in the contest.  Forced to start fouling the Cardinals in the final minute of the game, Ieraci and Dill would sink 5 of 6 free throws to seal the victory.

Izzy Lamparty led the Raiders on the night with 13 points and 10 rebounds while Bree Kohler added 12 points and 5 caroms.  Lexi Giles would also reach double-figure scoring as she netted 11 points on the night.

“I think we grow up a little bit every night,” Coach Jeff Fishel remarked about his young Raider team.  “Unfortunately in some moments, I think we are taking steps back.  But we have to figure out a way to continue to grow up and eliminate backward steps.  This was a tough environment, a Division I school that is going to make a lot of noise the rest of the year so we definitely found some things we can build on tonight.”

The Cardinals will travel to play Poland Saturday afternoon in their next action on the schedule.  The Raiders will host West Branch in their Holiday Tournament Friday night.

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