The Cardinal

The road to the basketball playoffs

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The Canfield Boys’ Basketball Team has been preparing for their tournament time since late April of 2017 and are more than ready to get the road to state underway.

Basketball is a year-round sport for many. As soon as the season ends in March, athletes picks right back up in April playing in tournaments and attending open gyms for their high schools.

The boys started their season 5-0 but everything changed after they lost the first time to the Poland Bulldogs. The team had gone through a rough patch and let a few games get past them. Their team chemistry wasn’t always there but senior leaders such as Ben Shapiro, Ian McGraw and Ethan Kalina helped the team regroup. They were able to play excellent basketball and the Cardinals ended their regular season 14-8.

As a member of the boys basketball team, junior Conor Crogan is be competing at a high level of intensity for a third year. Crogan has been doing the voluntary work and has been pushing himself to be a better player. He sticks around after practices and shoots with teammates. He also comes in before school to work on his skills.

Crogan said, “The importance of the off season is to build stamina up and strength for the end of the regular season. As the season goes on practices get harder and longer.  It helps during tournament time.”

Another member of the team is senior Ian “Quickdraw” McGraw. Quickdraw has been averaging double digits a game and has been a huge leader this season. Tournament time is a “one and done” situation. Once you lose, your season is over.

McGraw said, “This means everything, the realization that any game at this point could be the last with my brothers is crazy to even think about. I have grown up and played basketball with these kids since fifth grade and just to know that if we work hard enough and believe in ourselves, we could accomplish quite a bit this tournament run.”

Each individual wants to succeed and make it far in the season as well as the coaches. Coach Todd Muckleroy has been the head boys’ basketball coach for eight years. He has prepared for many playoff games starting with the regular season.

Muck said, “Our league and non league contests during the regular season prepares us for tournament play. We play a predominant Division 1 schedule, as our Boys’ Program always could be considered Division 1 or Division 2 when enrolled numbers evaluated.”

By playing a tough schedule during the regular season, practices are just as important as games.

Coach Muck said, “When preparing for Perry, you are not just preparing for a bigger school, but against a very competitive league in the Federal League. Perry is going to be very physical because they play against physical teams all season. They are going to be quick because they have to be quicker to survive in their league. We are going to have to play sharp and focused on Wednesday in order to be successful and to advance to the next round of the tournament.”

The Canfield Boys’ Basketball Team plays on February 28, 2018 battling the Massillon Perry Black Panthers. Tip off is at 7pm at The Nest. Come support the Cardinals in their first round playoff game!

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The road to the basketball playoffs