BOARDMAN, OH – For the second straight time, the Boardman Spartans girls’ basketball team did the unthinkable against the Howland Tigers. After a come-from-behind win against the Tigers back on December 14th, they wanted to do it again. Trailing by fifteen late in the third, the Spartans would score 19 unanswered points and hold off Howland as they stole one from the Tigers by a score of 38-36.
Boardman started off strong as they took a 15-4 lead late into the first. That was mostly successful thanks to four successful treys, and 8 first-quarter points by junior Mackenzie Riccitelli. It would be a tale of two quarters, though, as the Tigers turned the game completely around and outscored the Spartans in the second quarter 19-2 to take a 25-17 edge at intermission.
Howland had a well-paced scoring effort from individual players, but their bread and butter was inside the paint with junior Mia Barrish grabbing key offensive rebounds and getting putbacks. Alyssa Massucci and Gia Hoso also had their fair share of two-point buckets, as Massucci led the Tigers with 9 while Hoso picked up 8. Howland continued their momentum from the second quarter, starting the second half on a 9-2 run to take a 34-19 advantage.
It was the Spartans’ time to return the favor, and it would start with Reagan Smith sinking a corner three to give the Spartans a huge burst of momentum. Transitioning into the fourth period, Riccitelli went off for the Spartans, as she piled up 10 of the Spartans’ 14 fourth-quarter points to finish the afternoon with a game-high 19 points. Gia Triveri went alongside Riccitelli with the other four tallies, including two pivotal foul shots, to finish with 9 overall. It is also important to note that Boardman only gave up two points in the final stanza off of Howland free throws.
Boardman (10-5) completes a season sweep of Howland with the epic win, with both victories coming from late-game rallies. The Spartans will now prepare for a grueling week ahead as they will go to Uniontown Lake on Monday. They will then play Fitch on Wednesday, as well as traveling out to Canfield on Saturday for their second meeting with the Cardinals in ten days. Howland (8-9) will look to rebound on Wednesday when they travel out to Warren Harding for a rematch with the Raiders. The Tigers will seek a season sweep of Harding as they won the first meeting in the Toni Ross Tournament back on December 21st 43-39.
YSN’s Noah Ricks got a chance to speak with Boardman coach Jeff Hammerton following the thrilling victory. The full interview can be watched below.
*Contributed By YSN’s Noah Ricks