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Spartans get road win with 76-56 victory over Youngstown East
February 7, 2018

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It's not been the most outstanding season for the Boardman boys basketball team, but a big win away from home last weekend may have gotten it back on track.

The Boardman boys blew out Youngstown East 76-56 last Saturday night to even their record at 4-4 inside the All American Conference Red Tier. After losing Red Tier matches to Howland and Canfield in their previous two tilts, the victory in Youngstown was a relief for the Spartans.

"We went on the road and earned a great team victory," said Boardman head coach Pat Birch shortly after the win. "We had a very balanced attack."

Holden Lipke led that Boardman attack with 22 points and six rebounds. The senior was one of five Spartans in double figures. Mike Melewski, Cam Kreps, Ryan Archey and JaJuantae Young all had 11 points each. Melewski and Kreps each collected six rebounds.

After playing to a first quarter stalemate, the Spartans started pulling away before halftime with a 22-12 run. That streak gave the Spartans a 39-29 lead at intermission. Super shooting in the third period allowed Boardman's boys to gain a 20-point advantage entering the final frame. Not only did the Boardman offense explode, but also its defense was just as dandy holding the athletic Golden Bears down. Connor Miller was cited by his coach for contributing on defense by boxing out the bigger Bears' players in the paint. Boardman and East will battle once again on Feb. 16 in Boardman.

On the Friday night before visiting East, the Spartans did attempt to gain revenge from an earlier loss to Howland. Unfortunately, the result of this contest at home was just as upsetting as the one played in Trumbull County four weeks ago. The Tigers tripped up the Spartans 43-32 last Friday evening. Howland jumped out to an early 13-7 lead in this game that was dominated by bad shooting and decent defense. After a poor second quarter, the Spartans were able to catch up in the third period to tie the game at 26. A 17-6 run by the guests in the fourth quarter salted this game away. Birch's boys battled for four quarters, but weren't able to make important baskets when they needed to most.

"We gave good effort, but were not able to execute down the stretch to stay close enough to pull out a win," said Birch.

Lipke once again led Boardman in scoring with 10 points, but unlike the game versus the Bears, there wasn't enough offensive diversity to push the Spartans into the win column. Derrick Anderson started for the first time this season and ended the night with eight points and five rebounds.

The next three games on the Spartans' slate are non-conference battles with Lakeview, Cardinal Mooney and Louisville. After the rematch with the Golden Bears, Boardman will take on Warren Harding and Fitch for the second time this season. Both of those previous games resulted in Spartan losses, so no doubt the Birch bunch will be looking for retribution.

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