Cardington tips off BB season at Harding
With a young team, Cardington boys’ basketball coach Rod Brown is looking for his players to gain experience as quickly as possible.
This past weekend, the squad was able to get two games at the Kory Kirkpatrick Tip-Off Classic hosted by Marion Harding.
The event, named in honor of a former Marion Harding player who passed away in a 2011 auto accident, consisted of the host school, Ashland, Cardington and Elgin.
While the Pirates finished fourth in the event, losing to Harding on Friday and Elgin on Saturday, Brown felt having games on back-to-back days could help his team.
“We have a lot of work to do in a short span,” he said. “We have to learn soon. (Playing two games in two days) It gives us a shot to prepare for an opponent without working on them in practice.”
One thing Brown learned about his team is that they need to work to improve on offense, as they suffered through lengthy droughts in both games.
On Friday, the Pirates got in a huge early hole against Harding, coached by former Cardington mentor Roger Jury, and never quite recovered in suffering a 69–45 loss.
With the score tied 2–2 in the first quarter, Harding got nine straight points to take the lead. They increased their advantage to a 20–6 margin after eight minutes of play and led by as much as 26 points in the second quarter.
“They came out more aggressively and we didn’t answer,” said Brown. “They got a lot of transition points and we didn’t shoot very well — I knew that’d be the big thing.”
However, the Pirates would fight back, finishing the half on a 12–3 run. Cardington used balanced scoring to get within a 38–22 score, as Tyler Howell, Peyton Barnett and Alex Taha all scored three points during that span.
Cardington continued to fight back in the third quarter, getting four points from both Howell and Barnett. They got as close as 12 points at 42–30 before ending the period down by 15.
It looked like Harding would quickly pull away in the fourth quarter, as with the score 50–38 in their favor, they scored five straight points highlighted by a three-pointer from Kodi Clark.
Cardington had one more run in them, though, as they scored five straight from the foul line to get back within 12. Unfortunately, they would not be able to get any closer, as the Presidents finished the game on a 14–2 run to win comfortably.
“We just couldn’t get over the hump,” said Brown, who lamented his team only hitting 50 percent of its foul shots. “They’d foul us and we’d miss freee throws.”
Sebastian Walker scored 23 to lead Harding, while Trey Kinney added 15, Clark scored 12 and Shawn Tyler II added nine.
For the Pirates, Barnett led the team with 12 points, while Howell added nine.
In the other Friday game, Ashland defeated Elgin 48–32 to set up Saturday’s contests.
In the third-place contest, the Pirates suffered a 66–42 loss to the Comets. Cardington led early in the game, but Elgin took control of the game in the second period and didn’t look back.
Backcourt inexperience was a problem for Cardington. One of the team’s few returning varsity players, Mitch Yake, was out with an injury for the weekend and starting point guard Howell struggled with foul trouble after the first quarter.
During that first quarter, the Pirates led most of the way. Howell scored six points and Zach Wells added four more as the Pirates led by as much as a 14–6 margin before taking a 16–13 lead into the second.
Barnett hit two free throws to open the second quarter, but the Pirates wouldn’t score again for four minutes. During that span, the Comets went on a 15-point run to take the lead. While the Pirates got within seven points twice in the quarter, they trailed by a 39–26 margin at the half.
“We just have no flow,” said Brown. “Our lack of experience…I’m not saying it as an excuse, but it keeps coming up. We were attacking the middle and getting good shots and it just stopped. Our shot selection is poor.”
Wells opened the third quarter with a basket that brought Cardington within 11, but the team would not get any closer. Elgin was able to increase their lead to as many as 20 points in this period before going on to win by 24.
In the championship game, Ashland topped the host school by a 49–29 mark — a performance that led to the Arrows dominating the All-Tournament team.
Drew Delaney of Ashland was the tournament MVP, while both Isaac White and Trey Smith were All-Tournament picks, as were Kinney and Walker of Harding and Justin Spaulding of Elgin.