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Cardinals climb back after falling to Fitch

January 16, 2015
By Nik Zirounis - Town Crier correspondent , The Town Crier

Ever since the Canfield boys were clobbered by cross-town rival Austintown Fitch Jan. 2, the basketball team has been waiting for redemption.

That chance to get back at the Falcons was scheduled for Jan. 13. In the interim, Canfield recaptured control of its season with three straight wins. The latest in that trio of triumphs came over Liberty on Saturday.

It took some perseverance, some physicality and lots of good defense for the Cardinals to hold off the Leopards at home, 55-43. Canfield held a five-point advantage after three quarters and had that lead chopped down to just three points with four minutes left in the game.

Article Photos

Photos by Cindy DeRose, Town Crier
Canfield senior Vince Leone (34) takes aim at the foul line during the game against Liberty Saturday. Vince Leone added 10 points on the night for Canfield.

That's when the Cardinals became very defensive and forced three Liberty turnovers that turned into seven Canfield points. That final run by the home team put the Leopards away.

''We played really well defensively,'' said Canfield head coach Todd Muckleroy. ''We've had games where our offense played well and our defense didn't and games where our defense played well and our offense didn't. It would be real nice to see what we could do if we played both well.''

Guard Mike Yourstowsky played very well for the Cardinals last Saturday night, scoring six of his squad's last seven points. He finished the game with a team-high 14 points. Mason Mangapora was next in line with 12 points. Jake Cummings also scored a dozen, while Vince Leone tallied 10 points.

Having four scorers reach double-digits was a great way for the Cardinals to combat the dynamic duo that Liberty had leading it in the scorebook.

''(Liberty) has two really good athletic players in Lynn Bowden and Ben Phillips (who combined for 33 points),'' said Muckleroy. ''We were fortunate that we had multiple players who can score and not just two (like Liberty).''

The Cardinals used that same several scorer mentality in wins over Youngstown East and Struthers in the week leading up to the Liberty decision. Canfield walloped the Wildcats, 57-38, Jan. 6 at home, using 36 combined points by Mangapora and Cummings to help get the job done.

A few nights earlier, Muckleroy's men mashed the Panthers, 75-51, thanks to Mangapora's 21 points, Yourstowsky's 19 and Leone's 14. Picking up the win over the Panthers was even more perfect to Muckleroy because it came just one day after the devastating defeat in Austintown.

''We really bounced back,'' Muckleroy said. ''I was proud of the guys. I told the guys to play in the present, and we really picked ourselves up.''

Perhaps the greatest ''pick me up'' of the season occurred when the Cardinals climbed back on to the court for their rematch with Fitch on Tuesday. Prior to that showdown, Muckleroy predicted exactly what his group would need to gain its revenge.

''We have to have better effort and better energy,'' said Muckleroy. ''We have to work hard and play a near perfect game, which I think we can.''

Following the foray with Fitch, Canfield will continue the second half of the All-American Conference season against the likes of Howland, Boardman and league leader Warren G. Harding.

At 8-3 overall, the Cards are trying their best to keep pace with all of the great teams in the area.

''We've strung some good wins together,'' Muckleroy said. ''Now we hope to prove how much better we've become.''



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