Six in a row
Harding’s defense stops Irish
YOUNGSTOWN — After a close score at halftime, Warren G. Harding pulled away in the second half for a 65-53 win over Ursuline, extending the Raiders’ winning streak to six.
Harding (14-6) brought all types of energy to start the game. The Raiders caused an Irish (5-16) timeout with 5:05 as they were up 9-0. Harding continued with that energy for the rest of the quarter including two monster blocks by Chris Hughes. He even let a loud “give me that” as he blocked RJ Clark late in the quarter. Harding led 15-6 after one quarter.
In the second quarter, Ursuline began to find its way. The Fighting Irish found themselves down just 25-21 behind a good defensive second quarter.
“The funny thing is, we have five wins and we think we are the most feared team. At any moment, it has been clicking and I thought tonight that we were a step behind defensively,” Ursuline coach Keith Gunther said. “I thought their size caused problems. Even when we got the ball to the paint, they were getting hands on it.”
In the second half, Harding’s Delmar Moore took over. Moore scored six straight points to get Harding from a four-point lead to a 10-point lead.
“Our first three minutes out of halftime are really important. We talked a lot about if you win those first three minutes, you have a really good chance to get ahead,” Harding coach Andy Vlajkovich said. “We got the ball in the middle of the floor with Delmar and it worked. That was probably the game-decider since it stretched the lead for us.”
Moore finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Harding continued to stretch the lead after that run as Hughes hit a 3-pointer near the end of the quarter. The Raiders led, 44-32, after three quarters.
Harding continued to push the lead in the fourth quarter. Dom McGhee had 12 of his game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter.
Devin Keevey had 10 points and eight rebounds for the Irish, while DeShawn Harris finished with 10 points.
“In the second quarter, we had a slow start. We knew we had to come out strong in that second half,” McGhee said. “We knew after a big win that we knew that teams usually come out slow the next game. We picked it up in the second half.”
Harding beat Canton McKinley on Tuesday, 61-60.
Harding can wrap up the All-American Conference Red Tier when it plays at Boardman on Tuesday.