Published: Saturday, December 9, 2006
Spartans fall third time; St. Ignatius wins, 44-37
The Spartans were in the game, but coach Jared Cardillo wants some wins.
By JOE SCALZO
BOARDMAN Jared Cardillo sat back in his chair inside the Boardman High School locker room and sighed.
"We want to win," said Cardillo, whose team lost its third straight on Friday, 44-37 to the visiting St. Ignatius Wildcats. "We don't just want to be competitive."
Since Cardillo took over the Spartans' program last season, he's had countless fans and observers tell him that his team works hard and gives a terrific effort.
And while Cardillo appreciates the compliment, he's not satisfied with moral victories.
"It's true they do work hard," said Cardillo, who led the Spartans to a 10-10 record in his first season. "But I'm sick of hearing it. That moral victory stuff is over with.
"We're trying to get our program rolling. We need results. We need some wins."
After opening the season with losses to Niles and Lakeview, Boardman (0-3) started Friday's game as well as it could have, scoring the game's first points on a beautiful backdoor cut by T.J. Hosa, which led to a layup and a three-point play.
Ignatius has 14-2 run
The Spartans stayed hot, opening up a 11-2 lead with 4:45 left. But Ignatius (1-1) responded with a 14-2 run to close the quarter and Boardman never again held the lead.
"We started out a little sluggish, no question about that," Ignatius coach Brian Becker said. "But our second group responded and they really carried us in that first quarter."
The game was tied at 19 at halftime (the teams combined for 27 turnovers in the first half alone) before Ignatius grabbed a 31-23 lead at the end of three quarters, then extended it to 12 (40-28) with about five minutes left.
But the Spartans slowly chipped away, getting the deficit down to three, 40-37, on a 3-pointer by senior Raj Sheth with 1:30 to go. After a steal by Hosa, Sheth again had an open look at a 3-pointer, but missed with 36.4 seconds left. Boardman would get no closer.
"It was kind of ugly, but Boardman sort of forces you to play that way," said Becker, whose team is replacing all five starters from last season. "We didn't execute very well offensively, but I thought the Boardman defense played pretty well.
"Our defense played pretty well, too."
Replaced six seniors
The Spartans had to replace six seniors from last year's team, including all five starters. There are only three seniors on this year's team, so Cardillo knew he'd have to put up with some growing pains early on.
"There are two ways to look at it," he said. "You can say we're young or you can say we're not going to make excuses.
"We're going to choose the no-excuse route."
As they've done all season, Boardman played well in spurts, but has struggled with maintaining its mental focus for the entire game. The problem isn't physical Hosa flies around the court and his teammates give a similar effort all game but the Spartans haven't quite mastered Cardillo's motion offense, which leads to poor passes and questionable shots at times.
"I'm not bashing my team because they already know this," Cardillo said. "They'll watch the tape and they'll see it, too. It's a collective thing. The players, the coaches, everyone knows we've got to get mentally tougher."
Playing a team like Ignatius should help them do that. Becker has led the Wildcats to two state titles in his tenure (1999 and 2001). This year's team isn't at that level his two best players, Brian Sylvester and Sean Whitney each scored 12 points but it was a good game between closely-matched teams.
Hosa had nine points and five steals to lead Boardman, while Eric Johnson had seven points and five rebounds.
"We're going to keep working and we're going to get better every day," Cardillo said. "We're not there yet, but we're sniffing it. We're seeing [flashes] of what we can be."