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Girls beat Chardon 63-4
December 5, 2018

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The age-old saying "defense wins championships," is usually said about football, but can be applied to high school basketball too. That's especially true when discussing the Canfield girls team. The Lady Cardinals have only given up an average of 47.5 points per game over their first two contests this year. That stifling "D" has allowed Canfield to begin the season 2-0. Included in that ledger was an impressive 63-46 win at Chardon last Saturday.

"Our girls have committed to playing good defense," said Canfield head coach Matt Reel following last weekend's resounding win on enemy hardwood.

The Canfield girls held the home team to only eight points in the first quarter. Although Chardon cracked double digits in the second stanza, its 19 points were as many as Canfield scored in that period alone. The visitors held a huge 31-19 lead at halftime. A 15-10 advantage for the Cardinals in the third quarter stretched their lead to seventeen points heading into the final frame. That hill was way too steep for the Lady Hilltoppers to climb.

Six-foot junior Grace Mangapora mauled the Hilltoppers for 20 points. Senior Serena Sammarone was right behind her with 18 points. The contributions of these two veterans is something that their head coach felt was imperative in order to pull off the enormous road win. Making things even sweeter for Reel's squad was that the victory came against a school that has given Canfield fits in recent seasons.

"Our two returning players Grace and Serena have led us," said Canfield coach Matt Reel. "We were thrilled to go to Chardon and get a convincing win against a team we have not beaten in three years. We value any win we can get on the road."

Canfield's coach was able to value a home win in his gang's opening night triumph on Nov. 28. The Cardinals hosted mighty West Branch last Wednesday and earned a nice 54-49 victory. Sammarone and fellow senior Gianna Flask each scored 14 points to put Canfield over the top against the perennial playoff contender. Mangapora was the third Cardinal in double figures that night with 12 points.

Even though the amount of points these upperclassmen are scoring are fantastic, what they're doing for the confidence of the younger Cardinals has their coach cooing.

"Our young players are learning from these girls and are learning from their own mistakes," said Reel.

The veteran coach would like to see some of his younger players continue their growth in December so when the calendar flips to 2019 they are prepared to play valuable minutes. Perhaps their learning will enhance when the Cardinals play in Pennsylvania against Union on Dec. 7. Other games against western Pennsylvania schools will also take place this month versus Mohawk and Laurel.

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