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Cards need to win it all after dual loss to Raiders

February 7, 2018
By Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

Due to a scheduling quirk created by bad weather, the boys basketball teams representing Canfield and Warren Harding had to play each other twice in one week.

In the first game played on Jan. 27 in Warren, the home team handled the visiting Cardinals 54-38. Unfortunately for the Canfield kids, the result of the rematch that took place the following Friday night was just as upsetting. Harding came into Canfield and beat up the Redbirds once again 62-43. Canfield only has three losses inside the All American Conference Red Tier, but two of those are at the hands of the Raiders.

"We need to compete better," said Canfield head coach Todd Muckleroy. "Playing Warren Harding seems to be a mental and physical obstacle for my guys. In both games we lacked a little toughness to be on the winning side."

Just like they did in the first encounter, the Raiders exploded in the first half and led the game 34-16 at halftime. By the time Canfield went on a 20-7 run in the fourth period, this contest was already completely out of reach. Great defense by Harding did not allow one Cardinal to eclipse double-digits in scoring. Tyler Dobrindt and Ethan Kalina came the closest to ten points for Canfield with seven points each.

"We weren't efficient enough on both ends of the floor," Muckleroy said. "Any margin of error will be exploited by the Raiders."

The Cardinals fell behind the Raiders 10-0 in the opening game and were never able to recover from that early hole. Conor Crogan tried to keep his Cardinals close with a team-high 14 points. Zach Tinkey tallied 10 points for Canfield.

In between the two setbacks to the Raiders, the Cardinals were able to squeeze in a home triumph over rival Boardman 62-48. That was Canfield's second win this season over the Spartans. After the first period was played to a 13-13 stalemate, Canfield started pulling away in the second stanza. The Cards led 31-25 at intermission then ran away in the second half with a 31-23 run. Canfield's defense did its job to earn the hard fought victory. Boardman only hit 16 of 42 shots from the field and was just 9 for 19 from the foul line.

Due to the losses to Harding, Canfield has lost the control over the Red Tier that it enjoyed earlier this season. The Cards have split their past six contests after beginning the year 7-3 and are now 6-3 inside the Red Tier making the rest of the conference schedule crucial.

"Now that we have three losses in the league we are going to have to hold serve and win the remaining games," said Muckleroy. "Right now we are behind Harding and Howland, but we have some league games left so we'll see how that will play out."

Perhaps a battle with struggling East will help get the Canfield club back on track. That tilt took place in Youngstown on Feb. 6. There are also scheduled matches with Ashtabula Lakeside at home and Streetsboro on the road before Canfield travels to unbeaten Poland on February 16. Undoubtedly, the bad feelings from the uneven play by Muckleroy's men lately will be erased if they can derail the Bulldogs' perfect season on their home floor.



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