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Spartan Girls come home for 58-34 win

December 19, 2018
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

It took a minute for the Boardman girls basketball team to play its home opener.

After nearly two weeks on the road, the Boardman ladies finally were able to don their home threads last Saturday against Massillon Washington. The long wait was worth it for the Lady Spartans and their fans.

Strong defense by the Spartans spurred a 19-4 run in the third quarter that broke open a relatively close game. That charge enabled the home team to tame the Lady Tigers 58-34 for its third win of the young year. According to Boardman head coach Jeff Hammerton, a change in defensive philosophy at halftime helped his girls dominate the third quarter.

Article Photos

Photos by Jim McCreary

Senior Cate Green drives down the lane to the hoop past several Washington defenders last Saturday.

"Massillon was pressing the whole game," said Hammerton. "We didn't want to sit back so we started pressing. We played our pace and wore them down."

The Spartans also started wearing down the nets as the game wore on. Hammerton's girls drilled five 3-pointers as they opened up their huge lead.

"We were getting good shots and were hitting them," Hammerton said.

Four of those triples came from the fingertips of sophomore Maria Torres who ended the night with a game-high 24 points. Sophomore Raegan Burkey banged home 15 points in the win. Yet another sophomore, Katie Stamp, scored 12 points.

Having three tenth-graders top the scoring list was a welcomed site for the shorthanded Spartans.

"Getting 10 points plus from the three sophomores was great," Hammerton said. "Starting Wednesday we'll be back to full strength and be able to play nine or 10 girls. That'll help us play more of the up tempo style that we want to play."

Bailey Moore is another underclassmen that Coach Hammerton cited for playing suffocating defense against the Tigers. In fact, it has been stellar play by the Spartans on that side of the floor that has ignited a mini two game winning streak.

"Defense has been the key," said Hammerton. "It's created our offensive opportunities."

That statement was evident when the Spartans forced Ashtabula Lakeside into 30 turnovers in an 80-33 blowout on December 10. Lakeside never scored more than nine points in any of the four quarters. A 23-8 run to start the game for the Spartans followed by a 19-8 advantage in the second almost sent the home crowd to the exits at halftime. It was also Boardman's first win inside the All American Conference in 2018/2019.

Burkey had a career night bringing home 32 points. She also had nine steals and seven assists. Cate Green captured 12 points to go along with eight assists and six steals. Stamp was strong with 11 points and 14 boards. Torres took home nine points.

Two tough games face the Spartans this week starting with a visit from South Range this past Wednesday. Boardman then travels to the Struthers Fieldhouse to take on the 3-2 Lady Wildcats this Saturday. After those two tilts, Hammerton's bunch will head to Florida to play in a prestigious Holiday tournament. That complete schedule is unknown at this time since it's a tournament format. The only game Boardman is aware of is the first one against a school from Georgia.

"The are very athletic," said Hammerton about that southern squad.

With Boardman standing at 3-1 and fellow Red Tier teams like Austintown Fitch and Canfield unbeaten, the competition they will encounter in the Sunshine State may help the Spartans shine brightly once the AAC schedule really kicks in this January.

"We're excited for the challenge," said Hammerton. "We'll have our hands full, but it'll get us ready for the league."

 
 

 

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