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Ursuline overwhelmed by Boardman, 63-46

YOUNGSTOWN — Two teams looking for direction in their final games of the regular season found different paths in an intriguing matchup between Boardman and Ursuline.

The Spartans were reeling a bit after an ugly loss to GlenOak last weekend, and the Fighting Irish were feeling better about themselves — despite being without their best player — following a close loss to Chaney, one of the area’s premier teams.

Boardman showed it may have rekindled what has been a strong season by thoroughly dominating the Irish from start to finish in a 63-46 victory in Youngstown on Friday.

Ten players scored in a balanced attack for the Spartans (15-5), but it was their relentless defense that was the difference. They hounded Ursuline (12-8) with a full-court press and never allowed the Irish to penetrate inside when they broke half court. Boardman was up 13-1 late in the first quarter and ended the frame with a 20-6 lead.

Ursuline appeared overwhelmed from the start.

The Irish have been without standout guard Terrance Pankey for three games (concussion), and while his overall contribution is a huge loss, Gunther thought Ursuline was starting to adapt to being without him. The Irish lost by five to Chaney, but they played the No. 2 seed in the Division II district close the entire game. They took a step in the other direction against Division I Boardman.

Gunther was disappointed more with the intensity of Ursuline than anything else.

“I thought it was a great battle (against Chaney), a great game,” he said. “We played tough. I thought some guys had grown up, but tonight we just got dismantled. They just came in here and punched us in the mouth right out the gate, and I don’t think we expected that as young adults. I don’t know if they ever recovered from that. They got hit, and boom, went down and kind of panicked for the rest of the game.”

Boardman never gave the Irish a chance to recover.

The Spartans led by 20 for most of the game, and while Ursuline made a few mini runs, with Brady Shannon scoring 18 and Jakylan Irving adding 12, there was not a real threat to rally. The Irish shot 19-of-47 from the field and were just 1-of-13 from 3-point land.

The good news is Gunther expects Pankey back for the postseason. The Irish face the winner of Ravenna and Canfield on Feb. 26.

“Hopefully he brings a fresh face and some fresh legs to us,” he said. “He’s hungry.”

Boardman plays the winner of Lake and Hoover on Feb. 27.

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