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Cards' winning streak reaches 11 consecutive games

January 22, 2015
By Nik Zirounis - Town Crier correspondent , The Town Crier

The mid-January temperatures in Canfield may have been below average, but nothing has been hotter than the Lady Cardinals basketball team.

Backed by a 65-41 home victory over Warren G. Harding Saturday, the Cardinals have now won 11 games in a row to push their record to 11-2 overall.

That win came on the heels of a pleasurable 55-47 victory at arch nemesis Poland three nights earlier. Although the two triumphs counted the same in record books, they came about in a couple different ways.

Canfield scored 12 of the game's first 19 points versus Harding, and then the team rolled over the Lady Raiders in the second period, 21-6. The score was 33-13 in favor of the Cardinals at halftime, making the second half a relative breeze.

Erin Risner rose up to lead Canfield in scoring with 18 points. Rachael Tinkey was next up with 15 points. Alexandra Stanic scored 11 points.

Canfield head coach Matt Reel was concerned recently that his team had been banking too much on the point gathering prowess of the super senior Tinkey, but the Harding game continued a trend of other players getting into the scoring act.

''We've been trying all year to have other girls carry the load,'' said Reel. ''We have five or six girls that we can count on. Other girls (besides Tinkey) are starting to step up. We become hard to guard when Rachael isn't the only girl scoring.''

Tinkey was not the only girl scoring in Poland on Jan. 14, but she did shoulder a lot of the load. Poland had Canfield's winning streak on the ropes in the first half as they battled paw to claw with the Cardinals to secure a 29-23 halftime lead.

A 16-5 run by Canfield in the third quarter spurred the visitor's comeback. Tinkey took home top-scoring honors with 19 points. Ashley Kaleel added 11 points for the Cardinals.

If the Redbirds want to stay red hot they will need to improve in some areas that have been bugging Reel for weeks. He also would like to see his kids play with passion as the stretch run of the season commences.

''It's the part of the season when everyone has the winter blues,'' Reel said. ''We need to keep up our intensity. We also have to stop turning the ball over because we've been turning the ball over too much. Defensively, we are trying to get better at our rebounding.''

Ironically, the next part of Canfield's schedule is all about the opposition attempting to rebound from previous losses to the Cardinals. Canfield has already beaten Boardman, Howland, Fitch and East, but thanks to the new round robin scheduling format in the All-American Conference, all of those squads will get a second chance to take on the Lady Cards.

Of course, Reel's bunch will get another chance at sweeping those schools, so to say one team has a huge advantage would be nonsense.

''We can adjust as much as they do,'' said Reel. ''It will be a challenge every night, and we are looking forward to this second round of games (against Canfield's Red Tier foes).''



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