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McKinley knocks Cards out of tournament

March 7, 2018
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

The Canfield boys basketball team battled in a pair of post season games played last week.

Canfield was able to escape its opening contest in the Division I state tournament with a 60-59 victory over Massillon Perry at home on the last day of February. Unfortunately, the Cardinals were not as lucky in the sectional championship a few nights later in Canton.

The local kids fell behind early then rallied back in their match with McKinley last Saturday. But the hole the Cardinals dug in the first half was too steep to dig out of as the third-seeded Bulldogs bounced Canfield out of the tournament 68-62. This tournament was definitely a tale of two tilts for the Canfield men.

"We made mistakes in the Perry game, but was still able to win," said Canfield head coach Todd Muckleroy. "That margin for error was not as large versus McKinley."

A trio of Cardinals attempted to keep their team alive in the tournament with strong games against the Bulldogs. Aydin Hanousek led the team in scoring with 16 points. Zach Tinkey tallied 12 points. Ian McGraw came home from Canton with 11 points. Despite the loss, Coach Muckleroy had nothing but good things to say about his group.

"I'm so proud of them," he said about his players. "It's difficult to be upset because they worked so hard for 32 minutes. Playing two Federal League teams like that is tough. They did some really good things and came a long way."

Muckleroy's men made it to the sectional final by defeating another Stark County school in the opening round. Unlike the game against the Bulldogs, it was the Cardinals who were able to set the tone in this tussle. Canfield started quickly and held a 30-27 lead at halftime. Perry pestered the Cardinals throughout the second half and had a chance to win the game, but missed a potential game winning shot with just four seconds left. McGraw led Canfield with 20 points. Connor Crogan had 13 points. Ben Shapiro was the third Cardinal in double figures with 11 points.

McGraw, Tinkey and Shapiro made up just one third of the seniors on Canfield's roster this year. With so many seniors set to graduate, it'll be challenging for Muckleroy to mold another strong squad next winter.

"It'll leave a void," said the coach. "All nine of these seniors had so much to contribute."

Hanousek and Crogan are a pair of juniors that contributed plenty of outstanding moments this year. Canfield's younger unit also enjoyed a successful season so Muckleroy will have plenty of options to choose from to replace the departing players.

"Our juniors played significant minutes and we hope that some of the jayvees can compliment them," Muckleroy said.

With last Saturday's loss the Cards ended the campaign with a 15-9 record. Included in those 15 wins was a pair of victories each over rivals Boardman and Austintown Fitch. Canfield's coach will look back at those triumphs, plus the one over Perry in the postseason, as highlights to 2017/2018.

"Beating Boardman early then coming back and beating them again was great," Muckleroy said. "Getting two wins over them and Austintown was important. Late in the season we responded well from setbacks. We could have packed it in, but we didn't."



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