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Canfield takes down Chaney, 66-58 | News, Sports, Jobs

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Staff photo / Brian Yauger. Canfield’s Jake Schneider goes up for a layup while Chaney’s Matt Jones (0) challenges the shot.

YOUNGSTOWN — Entering the year, Canfield coach John Cullen preached the importance of getting his young players up to speed.

In all aspects of the game, Friday’s 66-58 road victory against Chaney was exactly what the Cardinals needed as they look to grow before the postseason. The Cowboys were the perfect prep for Canfield, as their roster offers challenges that few teams on their schedule will give them.

“They’re hard to prepare for because we don’t have anybody in town that runs as fast as those guys,” Cullen said. “They jumped in the passing lanes and did a nice job, but to our kids’ credit, we took care of the ball at the end of the game. We didn’t turn it over on the dribble like we did a little bit in the first half. We didn’t backdoor enough, but they didn’t get their normal steals off the press that they normally get. They got it off the half-court offense. Our goal was to not throw it near where (Chaney’s Jason Hewlett) was, and he stole a bunch. He’s great, a serious athlete.

“But the whole team is so young, that’s just a grow up game for our kids. You can’t prepare for anything like that because we don’t see much of that. They played well against Ursuline and now they played well against Chaney and we’re very proud of them.”

It was a game of runs, and luckily for Canfield, their initial run was big enough to stave off the Cowboys’ multiple pushbacks.

A 12-6 lead after one turned into a 28-24 lead at half. Every time the Cardinals would pull away, Chaney would have an answer to close the gap.

Dom Cruz led the Cardinals with 25 points. Jake Schneider had 17 and Tony Russo tacked on 10.

Chaney (8-6) was led by Josiah Gonzalez with a game-high 27 points and Hewlett, the University of Michigan commit, had 20 while being a threat on both ends of the court.

When faced with the tall task of game planning for a team with the weapons Chaney has, it’s not your typical methodology. The main thing is keeping up with their speed. That alone gives you a fighting chance.

“It’s not a game plan where you got to defend a whole lot of different actions,” Cullen said. “There’s two big things. You can’t let them run you out in transition as they did on some steals but not so much on their regular fast break, and you can’t let him rebound baskets. They did too much of that, but we also got a lot of tough rebounds. You’re not going to get all of them. If you get 60 percent of your defensive rebounds, that’s pretty good against them.

“To our credit, I think it probably did us more good playing them than it did for them playing us because we don’t see that kind of talent and that kind of athleticism. You can’t make it up. You can write it up, but make it up happens out here. Experience is the best teacher and that’s what we had tonight.”

It’s a quick turnaround for the Cardinals (11-3) as they take on Poland in another tough road contest. The Cowboys look to recover on Monday at Grand River Academy.

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