Matt Carney and Robbie Bruncak both scored in double figures to lead Cardinal to a 66-53 conference win at Fairport Harding on Tuesday.
The win snapped a four-game skid for the Huskies, who improved to 5-7 overall and 3-6 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division.
“We needed this win tonight, after losing four in a row,” Cardinal coach Jon Cummins said. “The kids have been coming to practice every day motivated even after a tough two week stretch without a win.”
Cardinal led just 16-15 after the first quarter as the Skippers nearly matched the Huskies shot for shot.
The Huskies began to pull away in the second quarter when they outscored the Skippers, 18-11. That momentum carried over into the third quarter as Cardinal added to its lead with an 18-12 run to take a 52-38 lead into the final eight minutes of play.
“We came out the gate flat and I’ll give Fairport credit, they made shots early in the game,” Cummins said. “Our defense carried us in the second and third quarter, which led to easy baskets or free throws.”
Carney posted a team-high 19 points with five rebounds and four assists. Bruncak finished with 11 points and a team-high six steals for the Huskies, who finished with a total of 15 steals.
Brice Hogue led the team with nine rebounds and Casey Horner added seven boards and a team-best five assists.
“We had a nice contribution from our bench tonight,” Cummins said. “All but one player scored tonight.”
Hunter Barks led the Skippers with 13 points and Justice Bartley added 12. Ray Alston and Jorden Cogswell both finished with 10 points.
“We wanted to shut down No. 0, Bruncak, and try to limit his open 3s,” Fairport coach Matt Cardina said. “I think we did limit his open 3s, unfortunately, they got some rebounds and they ran some nice plays where we didn’t help enough.”
Bruncak finished the game without hitting a 3-pointer.
Despite Fairport’s success in that aspect of the game plan, the Skippers weren’t able to carry their hot shooting from the first quarter into the final three.
The Skippers dropped to 2-12 on the year and remain winless in the Valley Division, but Cardina and his players aren’t hanging their heads.
“It’s been a struggle,” Cardina said. “We’re talking with our most talented players, our most skilled players, and really beating home the point of staying positive and encouraging people. If a guy misses a shot, go up to them and tell them you’ve got the next one. It sounds very simple and elementary but we’re just trying to make everybody encourage themselves. We’re not going to stop trying to go for wins, but we’ll change the way we practice and change our game plans, but the most important thing is the kids need to stay positive with each other.”
The Skippers have had success in that area largely due to the leadership of Barks.
“Hunter is not a big words guy,” Cardina said. “He’s more of a leads by example (leader), but he shows up every day on time. He’s a National Honor Society guy and has a very high GPA. His attitude and his facial expression never change. His personality is extremely consistent and that’s really important for us because we’re trying to encourage those kinds of things–consistency, always showing up on time every single day. That leader by example is a big reason why he is one of our captains.”
Cardinal 66, Fairport 53
Fairport (2-11): Barks 13, Bartley 12, Alston 10, Cogswell 10, Matjya 4, Kopp 2, Schafer 2
Cardinal (4-8): Carney 19, Bruncak 11, J. Heredos 8, Horner 7, Hogue 5, Miller 4, Granny 4, D. Heredos 4, Sinclair 3, Rogers 1
Fairport 15 11 12 15 — 53
Cardinal 16 18 18 14 — 66
Free throws: Fairport 10 of 12, Cardinal 21 of 32; 3-pointers: Fairport 7 (Bartley 2, Cogswell 2, Barks 3), Cardinal 4 (J. Herdos, Sinclair, Horner, Carney).