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Spartans wins three more games to stretch streak to 10

February 6, 2019
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

The basketball programs from Boardman and Youngstown East played each other last Friday night for what may have been the final time in a while.

The Youngstown club is the final season of its All American Conference Red Tier schedule so any future games with the Spartans will have to be non-conference attractions. If what the Spartans did to the Golden Bears in two meetings this season is any indication, the city kids may bid good riddance to the Boardman boys. Boardman buried East by 17 points in the season opener, then came back and bounced the Bears 56-32 last weekend. That win was the Spartans' 10th in a row and propelled them to a 14-3 overall record.

The game plan for Boardman before the game was to move the ball fluently and attack the middle of the scoring lane. That strategy was carried out with perfection in the first quarter as the visiting Spartans built an 18-9 lead. That advantage would stretch to 31-15 at halftime because Boardman's punishing paint play forced the Bears into multiple fouls. The Spartans were successful on 14 of 25 free throws over the first two periods as East succumbed to foul trouble. Another thing all of those infractions did was limit the number of starters the Bears were able to keep in the game. East shot an abysmal 11 for 48 from the field and 2 for 18 from 3-point range. A lot of that had to do with Boardman's great defense, but plenty of that was because the Bears were forced to use more reserve players as the starters were banished to the bench. Even though this game was a blow out in Boardman's favor, head coach Pat Birch believed his club didn't play as impressively as it has over its 10-game winning streak.

"We grinded out this victory," Birch said. "It was a choppy game."

Junior guard Derrick Anderson chopped down the Bears with 15 points and six assists. Senior Che Trevena had 10 points, four rebounds and a pair of steals. Junior Daeone Martin also made 10 points. If this indeed was the final tussle between the two schools, Birch is going to miss the rivalry.

"It's kind of unfortunate because we've had some good battles over the years," he said.

Birch's boys have also had some good battles over the years with Howland ever since the two teams joined the Red Tier. This season hasn't been one of those years. On Jan. 11, Boardman bombarded the Tigers 73-42 at home. Last Tuesday night, the Spartans headed to Howland and stuck it to the Tigers once again. Trevena took home 18 points, five rebounds and five steals from Trumbull County as the Spartans spanked the home team 74-34. The 40-point margin of victory was accomplished thanks to a combination of tremendous play on both ends of the floor.

"We used great defensive pressure and balanced scoring," said Birch. "Trevena had a good all-around game too."

That defense by the Spartans was so suffocating that Howland committed over 30 turnovers. The transition points off of those turnovers enabled Boardman to build an insurmountable 40-10 halftime lead. Anderson had 11 points, five assists and three steals in the win. Senior Nick Torres corralled 10 points. Junior forward Charlie Davis knocked down three triples for his nine points. Sophomore Ethan Andersen scored 7 points and grabbed five rebounds.

Boardman's hammering of Howland was preceded by a huge 62-45 annihilation of Ashtabula Lakeside on Jan. 25. After a back and forth first half, the Spartans started to establish their strength and sail to another win.

"We were able to wear (Lakeside) down in the second half and pull away in the fourth quarter," said Birch.

Anderson aided the Spartans with 17 points, six assists and five boards. Trevena tallied 8 points and added five rebounds. Martin and junior Connor Miller each made seven points. Andersen scored six points and yanked down a team-high 11 rebounds.

Thanks to their undefeated record in the Red Tier, the Spartans will now have a chance to clinch the league title if they defeat Warren Harding at home this Friday night. Boardman already disposed of the Raiders 67-43 back on Jan. 23. After a couple of non-conference clashes with Erie First Christian Academy and Louisville, Boardman gets back into AAC play when it hosts Canfield on Feb. 15.



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