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Three wins in a row help Boardman ring in the New Year

January 9, 2019
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

Boardman's boys basketball team began its conference schedule with a convincing win over Austintown Fitch.

The Spartans' 70-53 triumph didn't come as easily as the final score may have indicated. The struggling Falcons fought the Spartans through most of the game answering almost every run Boardman attempted to begin. Finally, a few minutes into the fourth period, the defensive pressure applied by the host Spartans' overpowered the visitors forcing the Falcons into 21 total turnovers to bring an end to their upset bid.

"We fought off a determined Austintown team for our first All American Conference victory of the year," said Boardman head coach Pat Birch. "(Fitch's) record in not indicative of the team they were bringing into our league opener. They are a very capable team that kept coming at us."

Birch was certainly sincere with those sentiments. His boys went on an 11-0 run in the first period that usually would wipe out a team down on its luck such as Fitch. The Falcons forced their way back into the match and trailed only 15-14 after the first frame. Boardman led 33-29 at halftime, but the Falcons tied it twice in the third period. It took a 12-3 run by the home team in the last quarter, plus pressure defense, to finally foil the game Falcons.

A huge contributor to Boardman's win was junior point guard Derrick Anderson who had 17 points and seven assists. More importantly, Anderson was aces at the foul line hitting on 11 of 12 free tosses. He was 6 for 6 in the third period and hit four more in the fourth to help lengthen the Spartans' lead. Che Trevena had 14 points and six assists for the Spartans. Cam Kreps totaled 10 points and pulled in five rebounds. Connor Miller scored eight points and had a "very good all-around night" according to Birch. Ethan Andersen scored 7 points and grabbed four boards. Another big participant in the Boardman win was junior guard Zach Ryan who had five points and five assists, but was cited by his coach for doing a lot more than that.

"Zach provided huge energy making plays on both ends of the floor," said Birch.

The Spartans started 2019 on a hot note and finished 2018 just as sizzling. Boardman had back-to-back wins to complete the calendar year. Those two victories were a 73-49 triumph over Struthers at home on Dec. 29 and an impressive 66-48 win at powerful Poland one night earlier. Overall, Boardman's record now stands at 7-3.

There wasn't nearly as much of a struggle with Struthers as the Spartans had a week later against Fitch. Birch's boys pretty much dominated from the get-go. Trevena topped all scorers with 17 points. Derrick Anderson had a double-double with 13 points and ten assists. Ethan Anderson also scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds.

"It was (Ethan's) best game of the season," said Birch.

Junior forward Charlie Davis scored 9 points for the winners. Tommy Fryda had 8 points while Daeone Martin was right behind him with seven.

Boardman broke open a close game on Dec. 28 in Poland by scoring the first 15 points after halftime. The stunned Bulldogs could never recover as the Spartans sailed away with the signature win. Anderson had a huge scoring night with 24 points. Trevena came home with 15.

It will be all AAC for the Boardman boys the rest of January starting with the game played this past Tuesday at Ashtabula Lakeside. The Spartans will see the Dragons again on Jan. 25 at home. Another home-in-home affair with Howland will start Jan. 11 in Boardman and end Jan. 29 on the road. Boardman will travel to Warren Harding on Jan. 22. That game will be preceded by the showdown at Canfield on January 18. A win over the Cardinals on their home floor will be very meaningful for the Spartans if they are to secure a Red Tier title later this year.



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