Coming off a 59-52 loss to West Branch on Dec. 5, the Canfield girls basketball team was hungry to get back on the court to redeem itself.
That opportunity came three nights later at Cardinal Mooney and, judging by the outcome, the other Lady Cardinals were probably peeved off that Canfield's girls were in such a sour mood. Three Canfield kids collected double-digit point totals as the visiting Lady Cardinals clipped their mascot counterparts, 59-30.
"The girls played with good energy," said a satisfied Canfield head coach Pat Pavlansky following his team's third win of the season. "Hopefully we will be consistent in that area the rest of the season."
Allison Pavlansky plays tight defense against the Falcons.
Apparently Pavlansky's girls got that message because they played very well again on Dec. 12 in a 74-69 home win over highly touted Louisville. In a strange way, the win over Louisville gave the Canfield ladies a small feeling of redemption for the loss to West Branch.
"A great win over a team that beat West Branch by 12 points," Pavlansky explained gleefully. "We again played with tons of passion."
One Cardinal who possessed plenty of that passion was senior Sabrina Mangapora. Sabrina sparked the Cardinals with 49 combined points in the two wins. She went for 20 points and nine rebounds against Mooney then came back to lay out Louisville with 29 points and nine more boards.
Another constant in the back-to-back big wins was Canfield's solid defense. Against Mooney, Canfield caused 20 turnovers and allowed just 22 percent shooting. Meanwhile, the Cardinals were able to hold off a late Louisville charge of 25 fourth-period points because they held the visitors down the previous three periods.
"What a great night and a great game," said Pavlansky about the win Wednesday night.
Having great games on both of those nights was Abby Baker who had identical 11- point evenings. She also dished out six assists against Louisville. Rachel Tinkey tore up Louisville with 19 points and ten rebounds. Kayla Barko brought in 19 rebounds over the two game span and combined for 10 points. Allison Pavlansky played well against Mooney with 11 points, six rebounds and four assists then returned the following game to score five points and grab six boards. Lynnae Whitehead helped wipe out the Lady Leopards with 10 assists.
After Canfield's fourth victory in five games, coach Pavlansky played down the importance of his squad's subsequent game against Austintown Fitch on Dec. 17. In fact, coach Pav was perfectly plain when discussing the Lady Falcons.
"Fitch will be a good test for us," he said. "We look forward to playing them."
Pavlansky's excitement continued well after the final buzzer sounded at Fitch on Monday. The Cardinals led from start to finish as it killed Fitch's perfect season with a 57-52 victory. Mangapora had her third straight masterpiece with 22 points giving her 71 in the past three contests. Baker bettered her previous two 11-point performances with 13 points. Tinkey topped 10 points with 11.
Now that Canfield has won five of its first six games of the season, it hopes to continue climbing in the conference with games against Howland and Hubbard on the horizon. The Lady Cards host Howland on Dec. 20 then visit the Lady Eagles on Dec. 27.