In its most recent game, the Canfield girls basketball team captured career win number 300 for its beloved head coach, Pat Pavlansky. Win number 301 in Pavlansky's career may have been even sweeter. What made the coach and his kids savor that victory was because it came over archrival Poland in the enemy's home gym.
Canfield downed their nemesis 56-46 on Jan. 12 to earn its third win in the All American Conference Red Tier.
"It was a very good win on the road," said Pavlansky proudly. "We were just 1-4 on the road so it was a big win for us."
Photo by Cindy DeRose, Town Crier correspondent
Rachel Tinkey of Canfield shoots the ball as several Poland players attempt to block on Thursday, Jan. 12. The Cardinal girls made it 15 in a row, defeating their rivals 56-46 in Poland. Tinkey put up eight points on the night.
That win almost didn't happen because Canfield played cautiously in the first half. After a close first quarter, the Lady Bulldogs got the better of the Lady Cardinals in the second outscoring the visitors, 15-10. That stretch allowed Poland to take a 27-22 lead at halftime.
Things changed dramatically for Canfield after intermission. Led by leading scorer Sabrina Mangapora, the Cardinals took control in the third period. The junior all-star sank seven of Canfield's first nine, third-quarter points to place her team in front of Poland. She would also score a dozen in the fourth quarter to finish the night with 28 points and seven rebounds.
From that point, the Poland girls were held in check by Canfield's improving defense. One of the Cardinals who excelled on the defensive end was sophomore Paige Baker.
"Baker played excellent defense," said Pavlansky.
As a team, Canfield held Poland to just 19 second-half points en route to the 10-point victory. That third and fourth period plunder of Poland proved to be a huge turnaround from the Cardinals tepid first half.
"We played very well in the second half after falling behind by five at halftime," Pavlansky noted.
Also aiding in the Canfield win was Abby Baker and Rachel Tinkey, who had eight points each. Sarah Vrabel scored six points and had five rebounds and five assists.
Canfield was able to stay in the running for a Red Tier title thanks to the win and forge ahead of its opponent by a game in the standings. The Cardinals are now 3-1 (6-4 overall) in the league and have won an incredible 15 in a row against the Bulldogs. The girls went for win number 7 on the season this past Monday night against Boardman.
The Lady Spartans entered that game a shadow of their old selves, winners of just two games this year and without legendary head coach Ron Moschella who retired abruptly a few weeks ago due to health concerns. Although this Boardman bunch hardly resembled Spartan squads of the past, they played Canfield as tough as they normally do. It took a 14-point effort and some big baskets by Abby Baker and some strong play in overtime to get the Cardinals a 49-45 OT victory. Mangapora made 12 points to help with the win. This Thursday, the Cards climb back into league play with a Red Tier tussle at Beaver Local. The next conference clash on the schedule is a huge one though when Can?eld hosts unbeaten-in-the-conference Howland on Jan. 28. If Pavlansky's girls are to win the Red Tier title in 2012 it will need to hand Howland its first league loss of the season next Saturday.