Boardman battled the undefeated Fitch girls Jan. 27 for four quarters and when the Lady Falcons' Megan Sefcik missed a game-tying 3-pointer with seven seconds left in the game, the Spartans celebrated a 52-49 upset victory that put a halt to Fitch's 15 game winning streak.
"It is just a pleasure to see the improvement in this team the past couple of weeks," said Boardman head coach Jeff Hammerton. "We have worked so hard this year and that hard work is really paying off."
The Lady Spartans worked hard in the first quarter against Fitch and it translated to a 14-4 lead after one quarter. Despite the Lady Falcons attempts to make scoring runs, the Spartans stayed steady and fended off the Falcons. Fitch's last charge came in the fourth quarter when it went on an 11-3 run to cut Boardman's lead to just two points. A couple misses by Sefcik and some stingy defense by the Spartans, however, sent Fitch to its first setback. That dominating defensive effort by Boardman led to 15 turnovers by the nearly perfect Falcons.
"At times Fitch looked like they were going to take the lead," Hammerton said, "but we never gave up our advantage. Anna Patoray did a great job defensively on Sefcik holding her eight points under her season average."
Patoray also was good on offense scoring 4 points. Boardman was led by Jenna Kuczek who scored 16 points. Megan Volosin was right behind her teammate with 15 points. Kelly Tomcsanyi and Briana Fonderlin each scored 8 points. Volosin and Tomcsanyi helped on the defensive side with three steals each.
Boardman has played Fitch twice this season and seemingly is the only school with the ability to slow the Falcons down. In the teams first match on opening night, the Boardman gals gave a gallant effort in a 2-point loss. Both teams are in the same district in the upcoming Division I tournament.
Coach Hammerton's kids prepared themselves for their huge win over Fitch with back-to-back triumphs over Massillon Jackson and Cardinal Mooney. Boardman won both of those games by double-digits as its offense was hitting on all cylinders.
"We had some strong shooting performances and did well from three-point land," Hammerton said. "We have been getting some balanced scoring."
Unfortunately the Spartans could not carry the momentum of their monumental wins over Massillon, Mooney and Fitch into its next game versus league unbeaten North Canton Hoover. It would be nearly impossible for any team to capture the magic of an emotional upset twice in less than a week so Boardman's 80-33 loss to a team that is 10-0 in the Federal League and 16-2 overall was not shocking. The Lady Vikings vanquished any thought of a Spartan uprising with a 40-13 lead at halftime. Boardman didn't score double-digits in a quarter until the third and fourth when it was already garbage time. Krista Johnson was solid for the Spartans with 10 points. Volosin was next up with 6 points. Fonderlin, Kuczek, Tomcsanyi and Jada Redd all scored 4.
With tough games remaining against Ursuline, Canton GlenOak and Uniontown Lake, Hammerton's club still has time to recapture the vibe it had before bowing out to Hoover.
A trip to the tournament is still on the horizon where a sure-to-be remarkable rubber match with Fitch having all of Spartan Nation's juices flowing.