the Boardman Lady Spartans have met to decide a district championship.
Although the stakes weren’t as high when the two teams met Saturday
afternoon, they game still had a playoff feel and intensity. After
nine ties and four lead changes, Hoover prevailed 40-33 to move to 13-1
on the season.
A back-and-forth fourth quarter mirrored the entire game. A lay-up by Boardman’s Darryce Moore tied the game at 33 with 2:05 to play. Hoover then scored the game’s next seven points, all from the foul line to secure the win.
Many were anticipating a match-up of two future Big 10 players with Hoover’s Brittany Orban, who signed with Northwestern, going up against Boardman’s Courtney Schiffauer, a future Michigan State Spartan. Unfortunately foul trouble limited the showdown. Schiffauer picked up three fouls in the first quarter, keeping her out of the lineup the entire second quarter and part of the third. Orban also picked up two early fouls, limiting her effectiveness.
Schiffauer’s foul problems came mostly from the defense of Jackie Nicodemo, playing the game on her birthday. Despite giving up eight inches in height to Schiffauer, she limited her to only eight points. “Jackie did a great job tonight against Schiffauer,” Hoover coach Paul Wackerly said of Nicodemo. “There’s not many kids pound for pound tougher. She loves going against the best players, she wants to guard them.”
With Orban hampered with foul trouble, Kyle Baughmgardner picked up the slack. Baughmgardner, another D1 recruit who has signed with Akron, scored twelve points, nine in the first half, and added nine rebounds.
“She is really improved … she did a great job tonight,” Coach Wackerly said of his Center. “Akron got themselves a gift. That girl is the real deal.”
Also Jessica Carpenter hit a pair of three point shots staking Hoover to a 23-19 halftime lead. Carpenter led the Lady Vikings with 13 points.
The two superstars being in foul trouble led to an interesting coaching move in the third quarter. A Baughmgardner foul shot gave Hoover a 24-23 lead with just over five minutes to play in the quarter. Boardman head coach Ron Moschella had Schiffauer hold the ball for five full minutes before calling a timeout. Schiffauer then hit a jumper at the third quarter buzzer to put her team ahead going into the fourth.
“I liked it,” said Moschella of the decision to hold the ball. “We got the last shot and got it in. He (Coach Wackerly) could’ve came out and challenged us but he had Orban with two fouls, I guess we were both playing for the fourth.”
Coach Wackerly agreed with the assessment of his long time rival.
“We had the lead, I figured why not let it go out and play for the final eight minutes,” said Wackerly. “Then they hit the shot and I thought it might’ve been a bad move.”
The long delay might also have drained Hoover’s shooting touch. Into the fourth quarter, the Lady Vikings missed their first eleven shots from the field in the second half, before Orban hit one while being fouled. She converted the free throw to tie the game back up. Foul shooting proved critical for Hoover as they pulled away down the stretch. Hoover shot 16-23 from the foul line for game, while Boardman was only 2-for-5.
The excitement of Saturday’s game might merely have been setting the stage for two more potential meetings between the two teams. A rematch could come in the Federal League tournament, and perhaps again for another district title.
Moschella, who starts 3 sophomores and a junior alongside Schiffauer, hopes his team can grow in time for another meeting. “This has developed into a nice rivalry and our kids really respect each other,” said Moschella. “There will be another time and another day. I hope we grow up by then.”