Three wins in a row have positioned the Canfield girls basketball team to make a nice run in the quickly approaching state tournament.
The Lady Cardinals disposed of East, Poland and Warren Harding last week to improve their overall record to 12-6. The 44-37 win at home against Poland on February 9 was the biggest of the week since it came against the Cardinals archrival. Although seemingly unbeatable Howland has wrapped up the All American Red Tier, beating the Lady Bulldogs always excites Cardinal Nation.
"That was the 17th straight win over Poland," exclaimed Canfield head coach Pat Pavlansky. "This keeps the momentum going into tournament play."
Canfield’s #15 Abby Baker puts the ball up for a score as #30 Maura Bobby and #14 Rachael Robertson try to defend for Poland.
Canfield never was able to build that important momentum until late in the contest. The visitors played inspired ball all game keeping it just 32-30 in favor of the Cardinals through three quarters. It took a 12-7 Canfield run in the final period to finally propel the home kids to its 6th conference victory.
"It was a tough game because Poland is a good team," said Pavlansky admiringly. "They were patient offensively. We weathered the storm and held on for the victory."
Weathering the storm was easy for Pavlansky's girls because they had the basketball equivalent of powerful Mother Nature in junior Sabrina Mangapora. Mangapora mangled Poland's defense with 21 points and ten rebounds. Rachel Tinkey added 10 points and five assists. Sarah Vrabel also had five dimes. Kayla Barko beat the Bulldogs with 6 points. Paige Baker, in what has become a broken record in Canfield, played "great defense" again according to Coach Pavlansky.
Great defense was the story of the night when Canfield held athletic East under 40 points in its 55-36 blowout on February 7. While Canfield's defense was dominant that day, it was its offense that hounded Harding on February 11. The Cardinals had duplicate 24-point quarters in the first half as they ruled the afternoon affair 74-55. Canfield's girls led 24-4 after the first period and had an insurmountable 48-17 lead at halftime. Beating the Lady Raiders just two days after an emotional game with Poland put Pavlansky in an upbeat mood.
"It was great to play well against a Division I opponent," said Pavlansky. "It was a great game."
Having the best game for the Cardinals was Mangapora who almost totally handled Harding herself with 29 points and twenty rebounds. Abby Baker was right behind her with 19 points. Allison Pavlansky played well and had 7 points. Barko also scored 7 points and grabbed four rebounds. Vrabel helped the cause in a variety of ways with 4 points, seven rebounds and nine dimes.
The Lady Cards have just two games remaining until the tournament starts. Both of those tilts will take place in Canfield on February 15 versus Niles and February 18 against Lowellville. Niles is one last division game for the Cardinals to improve their standing in the league. The Lowellville match is intriguing to Coach Pavlansky and should prove to be a tough test right before the tournament.
"Lowellville is an excellent team even though they are a Division IV opponent," said the Coach.
The state tourney takes place at Fitch against Streetsboro on Wednesday, February 22. A win that night places Canfield against Southeast the following Saturday.