When the Canfield Lady Cardinals basketball team fell to top-ranked Canton McKinley by 25 points on Jan. 26, Canfield head coach Pat Pavlansky vowed his team would get another crack at the Canton kids.
Thanks to the Lady Cardinals 57-36 mangling of Massillon Washington in the Division I tournament in Alliance last Saturday afternoon Pavlansky’s prophecy will come true. The Lady Cardinals and the number one seeded and unbeaten Lady Pups will play again on March 3 in Alliance with a berth in the district finals and, more importantly, both teams’ seasons on the line.
“We are looking forward to playing the best team in the state again,” Pavlansky said this past weekend. “They are amazing and well coached.”
Canfield was able to cruise over Massillon because it too has a very good coach in Pavlansky. The longtime mentor has worked with his girls all season to become better shooters from both the floor and the free throw line and it paid off in the sectionals. The Cardinals shot the ball well enough last Saturday to take a commanding 11-4 lead after one period. The local kids’ shooting was so hot it was enough to melt some of the piles of snow outside the arena in Alliance. Canfield hit more than 55 percent of its field goal attempts and 14 shots from the charity stripe as that seven point lead climbed to 11 points at halftime. Meanwhile, Massillon only made 13 of its 49 field goal tries and only attempted a dozen free tosses for the entire day enabling Canfield to keep control of the contest. All of those misses also allowed the Cardinals to outrebound the Tigers 36-26 led by the efforts of Sabrina Mangapora and Sarah Vrabel who each yanked down 10 boards.
Topping the scoring column for Canfield was Mangapora who added 18 points to her double-digit rebound mark. Cally Wollet was wonderful from downtown as she hit all three of Canfield’s three-point attempts to help her finish with 15 points. Kaitlin Kaleel climbed into double-figures with 11 points. Abby Baker had five points while Allie Pavlansky scored four. Add all of those numbers up and you have a very satisfied group of Lady Cards.
“It was a good win and a great feeling to win a sectional title in Division I,” Pavlansky said exuberantly.
The excitement brought on by the big victory did not last too long because the coach realized that preparing for the Lady Pups will take plenty of his energy. Game plans for this Thursday’s tilt were being put into effect just hours after last Saturday’s sectional championship.
McKinley made it to 22-0 by eliminating East 77-27 on Saturday as well. The Pups put up 44 points in the first half alone so stopping their formidable offense may be a big chore for Canfield come Thursday night. Ameryst Alston and Gabby Kendall both topped 20 points in McKinley’s win over East so slowing that pair down will be paramount for the Cardinals’ defense. In fact, slowing down the whole game may work to Canfield’s advantage.
“We will have to control the tempo, but still be aggressive if we will have a chance (against McKinley),” Pavlansky explained. “We turned the ball over 24 times in the last game and that number must decrease for us to have a chance.”
Tip-off for the sectional semifinal will be 7:30 p.m. in Alliance.