Boardman pressure too much for Raiders

Tribune Chronicle / John Vargo D’Muntize Owens, right, of Warren G. Harding works against Boardman’s Zach Ryan (10).

BOARDMAN — Che Trevena and Derek Anderson tag-teamed Warren G. Harding boys basketball team in the first quarter — accounting for Boardman’s first 13 points. The Raiders had trouble getting past the Boardman full-court trap.

That made it tough on WGH, but helped the Spartans roll to a 74-53 win against the Raiders as Boardman clinched the All-American Conference Red Tier title.

The Spartans (15-3, 8-0) have won their 11th straight and they did it in style. Boardman shot 7-of-9 in the first quarter and led, 17-6.

Then the Spartans ramped up the pressure to open a lead of 49-21 at halftime — shooting 19-of-25 at the break.

“We challenge our guys to play their best game,” Boardman coach Pat Birch said. “I don’t know if we’ve played a better half than that this year. The ball movement was there. The defensive pressure was there.”

Tribune Chronicle / John Vargo DeAveion Burgess, left, of Harding tries to score against Boardman’s Ethan Andersen.

Harding (11-9, 7-3) had 21 turnovers, most coming in the first 16 minutes as Boardman swept the season series from the Raiders.

WGH spent two straight days and about three hours on their press breaker. The thing is, it didn’t work against the Spartans.

“We get panicky sometimes,” WGH first-year coach Gabe Bubon said. “In practice, we look good at times, but then we turn the ball over 99 times. It’s like me and coach (Marc) Morgan knew either it was going to be a close game or we were going to get blown out because of the way we handle pressure. We didn’t handle it and it shows.”

Boardman’s trapping defense pressured not only Harding, but others this season.

“They’ve got 10 guys that play 100 miles an hour,” Bubon said. ” That’s what you need when you play that style. We don’t have room for error. When they start rolling and you start turning the ball over, it gets ugly quick. I said, ‘Oh my God, they’re going to get 120 on us.'”

Emari Burgess and D’Muntize Owens each had 11 points for Harding, while Dom McGhee added 10 for a Raiders team which shot 20-of-42.

Boardman was 30-of-43 from the floor, led by Anderson’s game-high 23 points. Trevena had 14 for a team which hosts Erie Christian tonight and plays Louisville on Tuesday. Ethan Andersen added 15 points, while Nicholas Torres put in 10.

“Che is so versatile,” Birch said. “Derek with the ball in his hands is as tough a cover as there is around here. He’s pretty special with the ball in his hands. He makes a ton of plays for us.”

Not much happened for a WGH team which hosts Ursuline on Friday.

“Take a loss like a man,” Bubon said. “They beat you. Shake their hands. Learn from it. Man, we can’t handle that pressure. Most teams we can. I don’t know. They got our number.”