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  SPARTANS EARN DISTRICT BERTH AGAINST #2-SEED McKINLEY WITH 58-51 WIN OVER WOOSTER  
  March 5, 2020 Edition  
     BY GREG GULAS
      Boardman News Sports
      bnews@zoominternet.net
      The Boardman Spartans boys’ basketball team has outscored opponents by 385 points this season, an average of 16.7 per fray en-route to a 22-1 overall mark.
      Their last four games---three regular season and opening tournament contest---have tested their mettle and gone down to the wire before winning all four contests by a slim 6.5 points per game average .
      Boardman’s opening tournament game against the Wooster Generals last Friday proved to be another test and yet another that they passed, albeit without flying colors by their own admission.
      Derrick Anderson, held scoreless in the opening period, scored a game high 23 points, including a dozen markers in the crucial final period as the Spartans derailed the Generals (19-2) last Friday, 58-51, at the Spartans Gymnasium.
      Daeone Martin proved to be the game’s X-factor, coming off the bench to pour in 11 points, including a key triple and seven points in the third stanza, that answered any charge the Generals would make.
      With the win, the No. 3 seeded Spartans (22-1) advance to district semifinal action for the first time since 1986 at the Canton Civic Center where they will meet the No. 2 seed Canton McKinley Bulldogs (19-4), a 55-50 winner over the Massillon Washington Tigers.
      The other district semifinal contest will pit the top seeded Green Bulldogs (20-2) as they take on the No. 4 seeded Canton GlenOak Golden Eagles (17-7) with the winners advancing to the title tilt on Saturday, March 7 at 1:00 p.m.
      There was no panic in Anderson---he’s scored 20 or more points in 18 the Spartans’ 23 contests this season---who watched his team build a 15-6 lead after the first eight minutes of action behind a triple and six points from Zach Ryan.
      Anderson’s 23 points now gives him 1,048 for his career and places him in fifth place on the boys’ all-time scoring legend, six points behind Fred Davis (1,054), who occupies fourth place and eight points behind former teammate Holden Lipke (1,056) who is third all-time.
      Former hoop standout Jim Goske (1,071 points) is second on the all-time scoring legend with Greg Dunn (1,385), who played from 1968-71, currently entrenched as the all-time leader.
      “I didn’t feel any pressure. I just felt like I had to keep my composure and let the game come to me,” Anderson said. “I didn’t want to force anything because my teammates trust me and I trust my teammates.
      “Wooster is a good team and tonight they matched both our intensity and energy. The key for us was to continue playing our game from start to finish, get rebounds, don’t get outrebounded and keep playing tough defense.”
      Ryan opened the scoring with a triple just 62 seconds into the contest for the early 3-0 advantage.
      Little did Ryan know at the time but his hoop gave the Spartans a lead that they would not relinquish the remainder of the game.
      Boardman built a 15-6 lead after the first eight minutes, but six points by Micah McKee keyed a 10-3 run for the Generals as they pulled to within 18-16 at 4:57 of the second frame.
      Anderson’s first points of the game, a triple 40 seconds later, stretched the Spartans’ lead to 21-16.
      Six more points by Anderson and a hoop by Tommy Fryda offset a triple by Reece Mitchell and free throw by McKee as Boardman opened a 29-22 lead at intermission.
      A McKee bucket in the lane at 3:27 of the third period cut the Wooster deficit to 35-32, but Martin scored the Spartans’ last seven points of the period to give Boardman a 42-38 margin with eight minutes remaining.
      “I just came in and did what I had to do,” Martin said. “Coach [Pat Birch] told us to go out, play hard and things would fall in place. This is a big win because it gives us momentum heading into the district.
      “Canton McKinley is a good team, we’re a good team and it’s going to be a good game. We’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a long time, so it’s time to go back there and get a win.”
      During a nip and tuck fourth quarter, Wooster cut the Spartans’ lead to 47-46 on two free throws by Drew Dossi with 3:58 remaining, pulling to within 52-51 on a triple by Mitchell--- his second of two in the quarter and third overall in the game---with 59 seconds left.
      Anderson, however, scored of the game’s final 11 points, while Ethan Andersen added two free throws for the other two points, as Boardman held on for the seven-point victory, their 11th in a row.
      The Spartans also completed the home portion of their schedule undefeated, winning all 13 contests.
      “It’s really special to finish the season undefeated at home,” Birch stated. “These guys held serve on their home court each night against really good teams. At times we didn’t have our best game but still found a way to win.
      “Go back a week or so against Chaney and they were the team that got us ready for tonight. I’m running out of words to say about them because I love them so much. They mean the world to this program.”
      Birch was impressed with Wooster’s resilience and fight.
      “We played them in the tournament two years ago and I was really impressed with how hard they played back then,” Birch noted. “It’s the same coach, same system and I’ve seen them five different times leading up to tonight’s game. Every time you watch them, they play hard, they’re long, athletic and I just knew they would present some challenges. Our guys answered the bell time after time and I couldn’t be any prouder of them.”
      Birch also lauded Martin for his effort.
      “Derrick obviously didn’t have his best game offensively to start and still ended up with 23 points,” Birch said. “They challenged Derrick a lot and Daeone came in, hit some big shots and made some big hustle plays.
      “I told him that was the result of perhaps the three best days of practice he’s had for us as a basketball player. He has found another gear in practice and I think you saw the outcome on the floor tonight.”
       GAME NOTES…With a 20-4 overall mark last season, the Spartans are now 42-4 (.913 winning percentage) in their last 46 games played…Canton McKinley and the Spartans have four common opponents this season in Green, Youngstown East, Uniontown Lake and Canton GlenOak. Boardman is 3-1 against those opponents as they defeated GlenOak, 70-68, on the road in their season opener on December 3; Lake, 64-43, at home on December 17; and East, 63-50 at home on January 24. They lost to Green, 50-45, in a rare Sunday contest on January 19 at North Canton Hoover High School…The Bulldogs are 5-2 in seven games versus common opponents, splitting with both GlenOak---they lost on the road, 71-65 on December 6 and won at home, 70-60 on January 14; and Green---they won 53-46 at home on December 20, losing on the road, 50-43 back on January 31; and taking both games from Lake---they won on the road, 70-46 on January 10 and posted a 65-51 win at home on February 14; while defeating East, 81-50 in their season and home opener on November 27......Wooster outscored the Spartans last Saturday night from two-point range, 32-26; but the Spartans held the edge in points from behind the arc, 15-9, as well as from the charity stripe, 17-1.....Derrick Anderson went 11/12 from the free throw line, including 7/8 in the fourth quarter to help secure the victory.....Also aidng the win were Junior Forward, Ethan Andersen, who was a force inside, scoring 7 points, grabbing 8 rebounds and blocking 4 shots, while challenging many more; senior Tommy Fryda finished with 7 points, while giving a great defensive effort; senior Zach Ryan had a really big firtst quarter, scoring 6 points; sophomore forward Trey DePietro played a very significant role for the Spartans, scoring 4 points and grabbing many rebounds; senior Connor Miller came up huge throughout the game, setting great screens, fighting for 50/50 balls and securing big rebounds; and senior Charlie Davis played crucial minutes, drawing a very timely offensive foul against the Generals.....Boardman mentor Pat Birch noted “Special thanks to the Boardman students and community for creating a special atmosphere inside Spartan gymnasium.”
      ALL-TIME LEADING SCORERS
      AT BOARDMAN HIGH SCHOOL
      Greg Dunn, 1968-71...................1,385 points
      Jim Goske, 1988-71...................1,071 points
      Holden Lipke, 2015-18................1,056 points
      Fred Davis, 1971-74..................1,054 points
      Derrick Anderson, 2017-20...........*1,048 points
      Alan Burns, 1953-56..................1,013 points
      Jim Geller, 1962-65..................**959 points
      Jay Powell, 1969-72....................920 points
      Butch Anderson, 1954-57................770 points
      Dave Erickon, 1968-71..................769 points
      Jerry Suess, 1959-51...................742 points
      Jim Soller, 1962-65....................716 points
      *Currently active
      **Geller’s head coach, Dick Selby,tallies his point total at 1,102 points
     
      PICTURE: photo/Howard Reese
      BOARDMAN EARNS FIRST DISTRICT BERTH SINCE 1986: UNDER THE DIRECTION OF HEAD COACH Pat Birch, the Boardman Spartans improved to 22-1 on the season last Saturday with a 58-51 win over the Wooster Generals in Ohio Div. I sectional championship play. Boardman advanced to semifinal district play to face the Canton McKinley Bulldogs (19-4). Boardman enters against McKinley as the #3 seed while McKinley carries the #2 seed. In final prep rankings of the regular season, Boardman ended rated #7 in the state while McKinley was rated #10. Pictured, Boardman’s Tom Fryda, 1, drives to the iron for two points. #3 is Wooster’s Ezra McKee. (Story on page 12)
     
 
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