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Canfield girls face upcoming grueling slate

January 30, 2019
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

A 54-44 win at Warren Harding was an important bounce back triumph for the Canfield girls basketball team.

Canfield's ladies were coming off a dismal performance at home a few nights earlier against red hot Howland. They needed to rebound against the Lady Raiders to shake off the unsteady play they've demonstrated over the past couple of weeks. Even though the Lady Cardinals have a very appealing 11-4 overall record and are 3-2 inside the All American Conference's Red Tier, the bad loss to the Lady Tigers and a heartbreaking one 11 nights earlier to Austintown Fitch has curbed the momentum Canfield built earlier this season. Despite those two setbacks, Canfield head coach Matt Reel doesn't seem too concerned. He's chalking up this uneven stretch to parity inside the Red Tier.

"I am not worried," said Reel a few hours after the win over the Warren kids. "Part of the benefit and difficulty of playing in a good league is that if you don't play well you will get beat."

Reel's girls didn't get beat in Warren because they dominated the third quarter. After a pretty good first half that had the Cardinals ahead 25-18, the visitors vanquished Harding with an 18-8 third period. Leading the Canfield charge in Trumbull County was Serena Sammarone who scored 25 points to go along with nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Marissa Ieraci tallied 10 points.

The Howland game, on the other hand, was one of horrendous offense for the Cardinals. Canfield couldn't corral any semblance of shooting touch as it hit only 20 percent from the field. A 5-point first quarter put Canfield behind 11-5 early. A 10-8 second period by the home team cut Howland's lead to four points at intermission. Alas, a forgettable four-point third period by the Cardinals ended all doubt. Sammarone scored 17 points in the losing effort. Grace Mangapora put up 9, but the Cardinals still crumbled at the hands of the Tigers.

"We shot abysmal from the floor for a variety of reasons and (Howland) deserved to win," admitted Reel.

Canfield's win a week earlier at Ashtabula Lakeside was much more deserved. Sammarone and Mangapora were back at it when the Cardinals clobbered Lakeside on the road 87-25. Serena slammed the Lady Dragons for 20 points. Mangapora was right behind her with 18 in the run-away win.

The focus now for the Cardinals as the calendar flips to February is to get back to the good habits they formed in 2018. According to Coach Reel that will start with doing better when the basketball is in their hands.

"We are continuing to work on our offensive patience and rebounding," Reel said.

Up next on Canfield's relentless schedule are two consecutive Red Tier road games. This past Monday the Cards played at Boardman. Those two rival schools will hook up again less than ten days later in Canfield. In between those pair of showdowns with the Lady Spartans, Canfield will attempt to avenge its narrow one-point loss to Fitch back on Jan. 12. Lakeside gets its chance at redemption when it visits Canfield on February 2. Reel hopes history repeats itself on Groundhog's Day against the Dragons as well as the remainder of the regular season.

"This stretch of quality opponents in five days will stretch us physically and mentally," said the coach. "I feel like we'll be ready."



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