On Jan. 12, the Canfield girls basketball team will travel to Poland to add another chapter to the longstanding rivalry between the two schools.
It doesn't matter what athletic event is taking place, the battles between the Cardinals and the Bulldogs are always historic. Yet, on Jan. 7 another historic happening involving the Lady Cardinals took place. Canfield hammered Hubbard at home 80-28 to push its record above .500 for the season. The historic part of the night wasn't in the number of wins Canfield has this year, but in the number of wins now earned by longtime head coach Pat Pavlansky. Pavlansky picked up victory number 300 on that Saturday night in Canfield placing him in rarefied air amongst coaches in the area. In true Pavlansky form, he took very little credit for his credentials.
"I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to work with great student athletes and coaches during my 21 years as a head coach," said Pavlansky honestly shortly after win number 300.
Through the years there have indeed been an enormous assortment of excellent athletes under coach Pavlansky's watchful eye. This year's group only includes one senior (Sarah Vrabel), but does have some sensational juniors and sophomores. Almost Canfield's entire roster was able to take pride in playing in Pavlansky's watershed win because the Cardinals clobbered the lowly Lady Eagles from the tipoff. The score at halftime was 42-9 in favor of Canfield, which meant that the head coach could empty his bench early then relax and soak in the atmosphere. Nine different Cardinals dented the scorebook led by the girl who has been the offensive leader all season Sabrina Mangapora. Sabrina sliced through the Eagles in the time she was on the court and finished with 24 points and a dozen rebounds. Abby Baker hurt Hubbard with 12 points and three steals. Vrabel also topped double-digits with 11 points and she also grabbed nine rebounds. Rachel Tinkey had 8 points and the same amount of assists. Allie Pavlansky put in seven points on her dad's huge night. Lynnae Whitehead scored six points. Kayla Barko, Jamie Giambattista and Kori McMurray all scored four points with Barko bringing in nine boards. The help Pavlansky received from his peers last Saturday parallels the amount he has gotten before and after he started as bench boss.
"Canfield Schools have been very supportive of the girls basketball program since the '70s when Bill Wolf became coach," Pavlansky explained. "When I took over in the mid '90s it was a great situation because of the people who invested lots of time and energy before I got here."
Everyone in the Canfield family will be using plenty of energy this week to formulate a plan for popping Poland. The Lady Bulldogs have won four of their last five games and are 3-2 in the All American Red Tier (6-2 overall). Although this has been a week of celebrating in Canfield, keeping pace with Poland is one thing Pavlansky and his pupils always take very seriously.
"We just want to beat Poland on Thursday," stated Pavlansky insisting that the joy of his 300th win was short lived.
While winning the battle with the Bulldogs is something that never changes in Cardinal Nation, there has been one major change in Pavlansky since he started his coaching career.
"I have lost lots of hair since win number one," chuckled coach Pav.
If his team keeps performing the way it did last weekend against Hubbard, Pavlansky won't be losing much more of that hair in the future.