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Girls remain undefeated

February 1, 2018
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

A couple seasons ago the All American Conference invited a bunch of schools into its league for high school basketball.

Due to that enlargement, the conference implemented a round robin format that had each rival school play each other twice per season. Some teams, like the Canfield girls squad, looked at that edict as an enormous challenge. That was before this season however.

Canfield's ladies remained undefeated in the AAC Red Tier thanks to home wins over Austintown Fitch on Jan. 20 and Boardman on Jan. 23. A 52-42 victory over Warren Harding last Saturday afternoon (Jan. 27) made Canfield 9-0 in the AAC and kept it comfortably ahead of the rest of the competition. The double wins over that triumvirate are something the Lady Cardinals haven't been able to accomplish in a few seasons.

"We are pleased that we have been able to win rematch games with Boardman, Fitch and Harding," said Canfield head coach Matt Reel. "It has been several years since we were able to defeat (Fitch and Boardman) two times in one year."

The win in Warren was made possible by the dynamic duo of Jill Baker and Grace Mangapora. The senior Baker blasted the Lady Raiders with 18 points while the sophomore Mangapora scored 13 points and pulled down eleven rebounds.

Just like the first match between the two schools a week before Christmas, Canfield bludgeoned Boardman from the opening tip. A 14-9 first quarter turned into a 15-point halftime advantage when the Cardinals scored 25 second period points. That was more points than the visitors scored the entire first half. Canfield cruised to a 75-27 victory last Tuesday night and has outscored the Lady Spartans this season by a combined 138-55. Mangapora was one of three Canfield ladies in double figures with 13 points. Junior Gabby Demidovich scored 12 points. Serena Sammarone scorched the Spartans for 10 points.

In the Cardinals' 59-48 triumph over the Lady Falcons, it took a 17-6 run by the hosts to shake off the pesky girls from Austintown. Sammarone led Canfield to victory with 17 points. Mangapora was the only other Cardinal to top 10 points with 11. Senior Emerson Fletcher fielded nine points.

It would seem that since the Cardinals reside in such a lofty perch in their conference it would be easy for them to look past these games that they are favored to win. Coach Reel doesn't see it that way.

"Our girls are confident while maintaining the philosophy that we will respect all and fear none," said the coach.

With just a handful of Red Tier tussles remaining there isn't much the Cards will need to do to clinch the conference crown. The chatter around Canfield now centers on if Reel's girls can continue to run the table. The veteran coach is doing his best at eliminating the undefeated talk and keeping his team grounded.

"We try to focus on improving each day," said Reel. "Our girls have remained humble and really are focused on the next opponent. We would like to (just) win the league. That is our only focus."



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