Cardinal has struggled this season to put teams away in the fourth quarter.
That wasn’t the case on Tuesday as the Huskies pulled out a back and forth battle with Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division rival Fairport Harding, 59-56.
“They just persevered,” said Cardinal coach Jon Cummins of his players. “It was a good job for them to keep fighting toward the end. (Fairport) took the lead and we didn’t give up. It could have went the other way the way our season has been going. It says a lot about their character. I was really proud of them.”
Fairport led 12-10 after the first quarter but the Huskies took control in the second quarter and led 27-24 at halftime. They held a two-point lead after three.
The final eight minutes was a battle of wills.
“Late in the game we missed a shot but Robbie Mulh came through and gave us a 3-point play with about a minute left,” Cummins said. “He was clutch there.”
Mulh finished with 10 points, all in the fourth quarter, and three other Huskies also scored in double figures.
Andrew Miller led the team with 12 points while Jake Francis and Craig Kaser had 11 and 10, respectively.
Miller’s scoring output was complemented by his efforts on the glass. He pulled down about a dozen rebounds.
“Andrew Miller did a good job rebounding,” Cummins said. “Verlin Miller, (Fairport’s) big guy had 15 points but he did an excellent job of keeping them off the glass. He really worked hard. Jake Francis did a nice job for us too. He hustled. We kept mixing up the defense and played some man. We got a couple five-second calls off the inbounds because we worked really hard.”
The Huskies recognized their seniors prior to the game and they all rose to the occasion.
Cody Naftzger pitched in with four points and Kody O’Brien had three. Alex Hardin also contributed to the win.
“It was a good team win,” Cummins said. “It was our senior night so I had some other guys playing in the game that didn’t play as many minutes or didn’t play at all. Guys played in the first quarter so it was nice to see those guys come in and contribute. Kody O’Brien has been in the program for four years. He’s a great kid and he plays all over the place for me. I play him at forward, where he’s undersized, and I play him at point sometimes. Whenever I need someone to get a break he goes in at any position and he knows what the play is. Alex Hardin came in and played a few minutes. He’s been a great teammate for his whole senior year. Cody Naftzger put in some solid minutes as well.”
Cardinal hosts Garrettsville Garfield on Wednesday then travels to Kirtland on Friday.