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Spartans on fire since losing only game of the season

February 5, 2020
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

Since losing to Green back on Jan. 19, the Boardman boys basketball team has been on fire.

The Spartans have won five straight games since that setback and have now won 15 out of 16 on the season. Their latest victory was a comfortable 71-49 win on the road at Tallmadge. Prior to that triumph over the Tallmadge kids, the Spartans picked up a pair of conference wins against Warren Harding and Howland to take command of the All American Conference's Red Tier with a 5-0 mark. They also beat Youngstown East and Farrell to close out January.

Boardman's boys looked to be in danger of losing their second game of the season when they battled the Blue Devils last Friday evening. The home team hit on bunch of jumpers over the first eight minutes to dart out to a 20-17 first quarter lead. Boardman composed itself in the second stanza and used terrific defense to hold its hosts to just six points. Meanwhile, Boardman's offense matched its 17-point first period to take a 34-26 lead into the locker room at halftime.

"Despite (Tallmadge's) fast start to the game we were able to take control of the game in the second quarter and go up by eight points," said Boardman head coach Pat Birch.

Birch's bunch seized even more control after intermission outscoring the Blue Devils 21-12 in the third period to extend their lead to 55-38. Tallmadge tried to cut into that lead in the final frame but clutch free throw shooting down the stretch by the Spartans allowed them to easily end the affair. Senior point guard Derrick Anderson was on top of his game once again for Boardman scoring a team-high 28 points. He also added five rebounds, five assists and three steals to his ledger. It was just another of a long string of sensational performances this season by the defending AAC Player of the Year.

"(Anderson) had another big offensive night," Birch said proudly.

Fellow senior Tommy Fryda wasn't quite as electric as Anderson, but he was certainly efficient. He nailed five 3-pointers to account for 15 of his 16 total points. The six-foot guard also snagged seven steals.

"(Fryda) came out firing," said Birch excitedly about his shooting prowess.

Junior Ethan Andersen was the third Spartan in double figures with 12 points. The forward also yanked down 8 boards and blocked a couple of shots. Senior Zach Ryan hit two triples for six points. Sophomore Trey DePietro was huge on the glass grabbing six rebounds.

The Spartans had an even easier time three nights earlier at home against Howland. A 21-0 run by the Boardman brood to begin the game put the Tigers in way too deep of a hole to climb out of. Before the visitors realized what had hit them, they were down 30-10 at halftime. Boardman cruised in the second half to an eventual 64-31 victory. Unlike in the game at Tallmadge, it was the Spartans who sizzled to start this contest.

"We used a fast start that helped us," said Birch.

Anderson again topped all scorers this time with 20 points. Fryda hit another three treys and totaled 11 points. Senior Daeone Martin had 8 points, but it was his four steals that really impressed his coach.

"(Martin) played a strong defensive game," Birch bragged.

Senior Charlie Davis had seven points and three rebounds. DePietro did his part with four points and the same number of rebounds.

This past Tuesday night, Boardman put its unbeaten AAC record on the line at Canfield. Certainly, the Cardinals were chomping at the bit to be the first Red Tier team to knock off the league leaders. Boardman's 68-50 crushing of the Cardinals last month had them even more hungry for redemption. The Spartans waxed Warren Harding 61-42 on the road back on Jan. 21 so the upcoming rematch between the two schools on Feb. 7 should be salty.

Wins over the Cards and the Raiders should put the Spartans in primed position to put a wrap on the Red Tier title.



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