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Cardinals win at The Q over Louisville

January 9, 2019
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

Canfield's boys basketball team had a fantastic start to the new year with a game at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

Although LeBron James doesn't call that court his home anymore, the Canfield kids played like a bunch of kings against Louisville. A strong fifth period by the Cardinals enabled them to shake off the pesky Leopards and secure a 62-56 overtime win. That triumph at The Q was Canfield's third in a row over Louisville and evened its season mark at 5-5. Most importantly, it infused some momentum into the team heading into the crux of the All American Conference schedule.

"I am happy to see that our team has competed against our non-league competition," said Canfield head coach Todd Muckleroy. "The win (over Louisville) will give us plenty of confidence as we move into AAC play. I feel we are ready."

It was Louisville who seemed readier than Muckleroy's team at the beginning of last Friday night's battle. The Leopards held a couple of slim advantages in the first half. They led 16-15 after one quarter and 27-26 at halftime. Canfield was able to overtake them in the third period to tie the game at 40-40. It remained knotted after a low scoring fourth frame. Regulation ended with the game in a 47-47 stalemate. Thanks to Canfield's Connor Crogan, the Cardinals were able to lasso the Leopards in extra time. The senior guard scored half of his fourteen points in overtime to aid the winning effort. Fast break points and some clutch connections from the foul line turned this close contest into a rather comfortable win for Canfield.

"During the contest neither team had more than a five-point lead," Muckleroy said. "During the overtime session we built our lead with transition points and by making our free throws at the end of the game."

Six-foot-five senior Kyle Gamble was the Cardinals' leading scorer with 15 points. Senior forward Aydin Hanousek hit for 13 points. Undoubtedly, Muckleroy was curious on how his team would react to playing on such a grand stage in Cleveland, but his worries were set aside once his boys got into the flow of the game.

"Playing on an NBA court brought excitement to my players," said the coach. "I was so impressed how they flipped the switch to a business-like mentality that a high school basketball game was about to take place."

Hanousek was the high scorer in Canfield's final game of the 2018 calendar year. He scored 21 points and yanked down 16 rebounds in an 80-60 blowout of Streetsboro on Dec. 28. That triumph was in the second game of the Hudson Holiday Classic. The opening contest in the classic wasn't as successful for the Cardinals as they were tripped up by Chagrin Falls Kenston 65-49.

All of Canfield's remaining games in January will be against Red Tier rivals. That stretch of showdowns started Jan. 8 at home against Warren Harding. In fact, Canfield has a four consecutive games in its own gym. After the Raiders invade Canfield, the Cards will host winless Austintown Fitch, 2-6 Ashtabula Lakeside and then Boardman. It'll be helpful if the Canfield club can build up its conference standing against a few of those struggling schools because the battle with 7-3 Boardman should be a bear. By the time the Spartans come to town on Jan. 18, that clash should provide a great hint as to who is ready to rule the Red Tier.



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