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Cards bow out after 47-56 loss to Hoover

March 1, 2018
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

When the Division I state basketball tournament commenced, one of the favorites in the Canton District was the Canfield girls.

The Lady Cardinals were 18-game winners, champions of the All American Conference's Red Tier and were riding a 12-game unbeaten streak. Things started out triumphantly for Canfield as it whipped conference rival Youngstown East 56-21 in the opening round on February 17. A few nights later, however, Canfield's season crumbled as it was upset at home by North Canton Hoover 56-47 in the sectional championship. The 5th seeded Lady Vikings needed to perform above their abilities to upend the number four seeded Cardinals. According to Canfield's coach, they did just that.

"North Canton Hoover played a very good game," said Canfield head coach Matt Reel. "We wanted to force them to beat us from the outside and for the most part they did that."

Article Photos

Photos by Cindy DeRose, Town Crier

Canfield sophomore Grace Mangapora puts the ball to the hoop under double pressure from North Canton Hoover’s MaKenzie Green and Jillian Hawks.

Solid shooting by the Vikings stretched a close game into more of a comfortable one for them in the second half. Hoover sucked the air out of the home crowd with a 38-26 second half run. It also doubled up the Cardinals from behind the three-point arc hitting six triples to Canfield's three.

"It was a very even game until the fourth quarter," said Reel. "(Hoover) simply made some shots while we missed ours."

A big part of Coach Reel's game plan was to slow down Hoover's super sisters Makenzie and Alexis Green. Unfortunately, that dynamic duo ended the game with 39 of the Vikings' 56 total points.

"The two Green sisters played excellent games and shot the ball extremely well," said Reel.

Serena Sammarone scored 17 points to lead the Cardinals. Jill Baker scored 13 points. Gabby Demidovich was the leading scorer for Canfield in the win over East with 13 points. Emerson Fletcher followed her with 11 points. The good news is out of that quartet, only Baker and Fletcher will be graduating. Canfield only has three other seniors leaving so there will be a lot of talent returning next winter led by the likes of Sammarone, Demidovich and Grace Mangapora. After the loss to Hoover, Coach Reel reflected on how special this season's squad was.

"We expressed to the girls how proud we were of them," he said. "They could not have given a better effort and sometimes the other team just plays a little better. This is the tough thing about the tournament."

Canfield's season started out tough with a pair of losses to New Philadelphia and West Branch. After those two setbacks, Reel's warriors went 19-2. That record left an indelible mark on Cardinal Nation.

"Our team went undefeated in the league to win a league title," Reel said. "That is a feat that not many teams at Canfield have accomplished. The girls improved throughout the year and were a fun group to coach. Our seniors did a nice job leading us and all of them have bright futures. This was a group that should have made the school and community of Canfield very proud."



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