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Spartans continue to struggle

January 25, 2018
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

The struggling Boardman boys basketball team missed a great opportunity to pick up back-to-back road wins last Friday night (Jan. 19).

Three nights after sinking Struthers 71-48 at The Fieldhouse, Boardman lost to Warren Harding 53-47. That loss left the Spartans 1-3 in the All American Conference Red Tier and 4-7 overall.

Good defense kept both the Spartans and the Raiders in close proximity all night. Boardman took a one-point lead into the second quarter then fell behind by three at intermission. A 17-10 run by the Raiders in the fourth period sent the Spartans home with a loss. Four straight successful free throws down the stretch by the home team sealed the deal. Holden Lipke led Boardman with 19 points and eight rebounds. JaJuantae Young was the only other Spartan scorer in double digits with 10 points. Ryan Archey had 8 points.

While the Spartans struggled in the fourth quarter at Warren, they were much more efficient in the final frame a few nights prior in Struthers. The Boardman boys used a 20-16 fourth period run to help shoot down Struthers. That nice eight minute stretch came on the heels of a dominant 24-7 third period that blew open a close game. According to head coach Pat Birch, his men used strong defense and unselfish passing on offense to run down the Wildcats. Young hit on seven of eight shots to lead the Spartans with 17 points. Lipke had a large all around night with 16 points, thirteen rebounds, five assists and three steals. Archey added 14 points and seven assists. Mike Melewski had 7 points and three assists. Cam Kreps kept pace with six points and six rebounds.

Birch's bunch has two more road games scheduled before heading back to Boardman to play Howland on Feb. 2. These upcoming games will also signal the start of conference rematches for the Spartans. Boardman will meet Ashtabula Lakeside on the road this Friday. The Spartans doused the Dragons 76-64 on Dec. 15. Canfield beat Boardman by six points a week before Christmas and these two schools will battle once again in Canfield on Jan. 30.

The second stint with the Tigers will be interesting because Boardman will be looking to avenge its 71-63 setback on Jan. 5. Howland manhandled the Spartans on the boards in that match out-rebounding them 49-27. Coach Birch vowed after that game to get his team tougher to withstand such an onslaught in the future. Next Friday's game will be a measuring stick in that department for the Spartans.



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