WGH blasts Canfield
Raiders too much in first half as they sweep season series from Cardinals
CANFIELD — Warren G. Harding dominated for the first three quarters of the game against Canfield to take the All-American Conference Red Tier lead and won Friday, 62-43.
Warren G. Harding (9-6, 8-2) defeated Canfield (10-6, 6-3) 54-38 in their first match-up in Warren.
Harding got out in transition early in the first quarter and got out to a 7-2 lead with 5 minutes left in the quarter. That became a theme throughout the game as the Raiders continued to put the pressure on.
Harding led, 17-6, after the first quarter.
“I thought our guys came out with a great sense of urgency,” Harding coach Andy Vlajkovich said about the Raiders first-quarter start. “We’re coming off a loss in the league with our backs against the wall. I give the kids a ton of credit. We had our backs against the wall after an 0-2 start and we’ve responded really well.”
Harding continued to play well on both ends of the floor in the second quarter as the Raiders increased its lead going into halftime as it led 34-16. Chris Hughes led the Raiders with 11 first-half points and Ethan Kalina had seven points for the Cardinals.
“It was certainly a tough game to watch for two quarters but as hard as it is to lose, a lot of good things happened in the last 16 minutes of this basketball game,” Canfield coach Todd Muckleroy said about the first-half struggles. “I hope it kind of sends a message to the guys about how hard we have to play to win basketball games.”
Unlike their first match-up where Canfield made a third-quarter run, Harding began the second half on a 10-0 run which caused a timeout by Canfield.
“We knew how good Canfield was at home,” Hughes said. “We knew that we had to come out strong and try to come out real hard. We just wanted to get into a track meet with them.”
Hughes finished with a game-high 14 points and Delmar Moore had 13 points. Kalina and Tyler Dobrinot both finished with seven points for the Cardinals.
Harding led 50-22 after three quarters. That is when Muckleroy made a statement by taking out his entire starting lineup for a new five.
“You feel like you aren’t getting much production out of them,” he said. “Nothing against those guys because up until this point. That happens sometimes. They understand and they know there was nothing malicious on my part but they know what has to happen for us to finish the year.”
Harding didn’t have a perfect fourth quarter as Canfield made a small run but it was too late as Harding got the win.
“Unfortunately, we had a bit of a flat fourth quarter,” Vlajkovich said. “For three quarters, I thought that we played as good as we have all season. I was really happy with those first three quarters. I’m proud of our guys and really proud of our effort.”
Tonight, Harding travels to play Maple Heights, while Canfield faces East on Tuesday.