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  February 18, 2021 Edition  
      Boardman News Sports
      The Cardinal Mooney Cardinals girls’ basketball team is hitting their stride at just the right time.
      Despite dropping a hard-fought, 43-39 decision to West Branch back on February 3, they completed their regular season with a 47-41 win over arch-rival Ursuline (February 5) then last Thursday, toppled East at home, 44-24 to capture their second consecutive Steel Valley Conference championship.
      With an unblemished 6-0 league mark the past two seasons, it’s safe to say that the SVC title runs through 2545 Erie Street in Youngstown.
      The Cardinals – they are currently 11-6 overall in a shortened 17-game regular season – are the No. 9 seed in the upcoming Division II, Northeast 2 sectional-district tournament and at press time, were set to once again host the Golden Bears in the sectional semi-finals on February 17.
      Last week against EHS, the Cardinals raced out to a 17-7 lead after the first eight minutes of action and never looked back as they posted their 12th consecutive SVC contest since the league was reconfigured in time for the 2019-20 academic year.
      Two triples by Angelina Rotunno and four points by Katie Hough helped set the pace in the opening session while a stingy defense – the Cardinals held the Golden Bears to just three points in the second quarter – and four points each from Hough and Olivia Rouser helped Cardinal Mooney to a 28-10 halftime lead.
      Four more points by Hough and Alaina Scavina stretched the Cardinals’ margin to 36-16 after three frames while Mooney’s Maria Fire and East High’s Brianna Thompson each scored four points in the final eight minutes as CMHS concluded their regular season with two straight wins and a 20-point victory over the Golden Bears, a team they struggled to beat on the road back on January 20, 36-34.
      Hough had a game-high 14 points for Cardinal Mooney while Fire was the other Cardinals’ player to finish in double figures with 10.
      Rouser, Rotunno and Scavina each added eight markers with Natalie Femia’s fourth period bucket rounding out the scoring for the Cards.
      Thompson finished with 10 points to lead the Golden Bears.
      CARD GIRLS BASKETBALL NOTES…The Lady Cardinals concluded the regular season by going 5-3 at home and 6-3 on the road…They scored 796 points in 17 contests, an average of 46.8 per contest while allowing 688 (40.1) for a +6.7 point differential…Their road to the SVC included two wins over Chaney (83-20 at home on January 6 and 65-22 on January 23 on the road), two decisions over East (36-34 on January 20 on the road and 44-24 on February 11 at home) and two victories over arch-rival Ursuline (45-36 on January 27 on the road and 47-41 at home on February 5)…Defense was the name of their game in the SVC, outscoring league opposition 320 (53.3 ppg) to 177 (29.5 ppg) or an average of 23.8 per outing.
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