BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Boardman Spartans remain undefeated on the season as they overpowered the Canfield Cardinals Friday night 68-50 thanks to defensive pressure and big baskets by senior guards Derrick Anderson and Daeone Martin.
Watch the video above for highlights and reaction from the game.
The Spartans improve to 10-0 on the season, 3-0 in the AAC Red Tier. The Cardinals drop to 7-6 on the year, 0-3 in the league.
“Any time you can get a few (wins) in a row over a well-coached team like Canfield, you appreciate it,” Spartans coach Pat Birch said. “We have had some battles over the years, and it’s a nice rivalry with us. These guys play hard, and their guys play hard. So to get to 3-0 and 10-0 on the season right now is a really good spot to be in.”
Derrick Anderson would lead the Spartans with 21 points and 5 rebounds while Daeone Martin added 19 points in the win. Spartans junior forward Ethan Andersen would add 13 points and 8 rebounds to power the Spartans team.
Birch praised his two top scorers in the game, “Daeone is a guy off the bench for us that can really score the basketball. And when he is in an attack mode like that, it really gives us another element that I think makes us very hard guard.”
“Derrick, his standard is pretty high right now in terms of his play. He is someone that we expect a lot out of him, and he expects a lot out of himself. He had a good game, but he has another gear though that I’m hoping to see on Sunday.” Birch referred to the Spartans’ next contest.
The Spartans came out of gates hitting on all cylinders as they raced out to an 8-0 lead thanks to suffocating pressure on the Cardinals ball handlers. The Cardinals would not connect on a basket from the floor until the 2:42 mark of the opening frame when Brayden Beck sank a bucket. The Spartans would close the quarter with an 18-7 lead.
“When you get down, and I think it was 8-1 at the start, you’re hoping that you hit a field goal and maybe bridge that gap a little. But when they built that lead, that’s not a lead that they are going to relinquish. That’s how good of a team they are, kudos to them,” Cardinals coach Todd Muckleroy said.
“The coaches were on us every single day at practice that we have to get better, and we still need to get better with pressure. That was our main key to pressure the ball in the half-court and the frontcourt,” Spartans senior guard Derrick Anderson added.
The Spartans kept the pressure on the Cardinals in the second quarter as they started the frame with a 12-6 run to hold a 17-point 30-13 lead midway through the period. They would carry a 39-18 advantage into the locker rooms at intermission.
Following a quick basket by the Spartans Zach Ryan to start the second half, the Cardinals responded with a run at the Spartans. The Cardinals would use the hot hand of Brent Hermann as he knocked down three trey’s, along with a basket by Nick Pantelakis at the 1:20 mark of the third quarter to cut the deficit down to 13-points at 46-33. But the Spartans would hold a 51-33 advantage at the end of the period.
“They started pressuring us and we hadn’t seen that all game. We kind of got careless with the basketball,” Anderson explained the Cardinals comeback in the third quarter. “We tried to come together and refocus and regroup for the rest of the game.”
The Spartans would pull away even farther in the fourth quarter as they increased their lead to a game-high 26-points at 68-42 late in the period. But the Cardinals would go down fighting as they finished the game with an 8-0 run to reach the final 68-50 score.
Hermann would score 14 points to pace the Cardinals on the scoreboard. No other Cardinal player reached double digits in scoring. Brayden beck would pull down 6 rebounds to lead the Cardinals on the boards.
“Our pressure looked good in spots, and sometimes the scoreboard isn’t a good indicator of how good the things we did sometimes. I think our defense is doing a good job, but I think our offense is a little deficient at this point and time,” Muckleroy remarked.
The Spartans will now face the Green Bulldogs Saturday afternoon in a rematch with the team that eliminated the Spartans in tournaments and gave them their only loss last season. The Cardinals return to action next Tuesday when they host AAC rival Howland.