Prior to the game against Boardman, a touching moment for those in attendance at Cardinal Mooney. The two seniors for the Cardinals, Catie Perry and CJ Sapp, were escorted across the court by their families. But that wasn’t all. CJ, who tore her ACL in the previous matchup against the Spartans, came out in full uniform as a starter. Still recovering and wearing her brace, Sapp lined up for the tip off against Maria Torres. Sapp tipped the ball to Perry, a timeout was called, and hugs and tears were shared by both teams. Sapp walked off to a standing ovation and more embraces from her teammates. A beautiful moment for a phenomenal athlete who saw her senior athletic season cut far too short.
The emotions of the night were high, and the Cardinals used it to jump to an early lead. Perry and Gia Diorio hooked up for a few transition buckets, and the Cardinals defense held their own. An 8-3 lead was established, but the Spartans immediately responded. Reagan Burkey got plenty of opportunities from the free throw line, and the front court duo of Torres and Emma Tokarsky shut down the Cardinals offense for most of the first half. Following their early lead, Mooney would go over eight minutes of game time without a field goal. It wasn’t until Gia DiVincenzo hit a corner 3 pointer that Mooney would spring to life offensively. Despite Boardman’s dominance, they held only a one point lead at half, 22-21.
The second half, however, became a demonstration on the importance of free throws. Most impressive was the feat of Reagan Burkey, who finished a perfect 14/14 from the line, with 20 points overall. Boardman as a team shot 22/24 from the line. Maria Torres, held scoreless in the first, scored 6 points in the third. And the Cardinal’s offense struggled mightily, scoring only 4 points in the third quarter. The lead grew to 16, and Mooney would fail to mount any sort of comeback. The Spartans complete the sweep of their rival by a final score of 47-39.
Mooney will be on the road for their final regular season game, a makeup game against Valley Christian this Wednesday. The Spartans will be on the road against the Quakers from Salem.