Refocused Woodrige boys cagers win two in a row

By STEVE BATKO | CORRESPONDENT Published:

Brian Fantone has had to expand his player rotation. After that move, coupled with a slight break in the schedule, the Woodridge boys basketball team now has its collective feet underneath them.

The Bulldogs have won two games in a row with a Jan. 8 70-41 road win in league play over East Canton and a Jan. 4 Portage Trail Conference County Division win at Rootstown by a 54-27 count.

Those league foes are in the lower division of the PTC County, but Fantone isn't complaining after his club raised its PTC mark to 3-3.

In fact, Woodridge (3-5) started the season with seven of its first eight games on the road. Now, the Bulldogs have 10 of the last 12 at the comforts of home.

"It was great to get those wins and the good thing is that we were playing 13 kids a night," said Fantone.

Fantone is getting contributions from his entire roster, but what will happen when the Bulldogs face one of the powers in the PTC?

"Our rotation will remain deep," he said. "We are pleased with the play of our starters. It's just that we may rely on different players on any given night.

"We are not looking for replacements -- we are just trying to supplant with other athletes depending on what we need."

In the win over East Canton (3-6 overall, 2-4 in the PTC), senior wing Chico Coleman scored a season high 12 points in a balanced attack.

Senior guard Nelson Perry scored 11 points, senior guard Sean McCoy had 10, senior forward Anthony Mong nine, senior center Rat Mathews had six as did junior post Armad Richey-Conrad.

Center Hunter Niswander, a senior, added five points along with junior John Harry while seniors Logan Johnson and Alex Barracato each had two points. Sophomore Christian Owens and freshman Keaon Potts added a free throw each.

"The guys have been playing great defense as a team and it's nice to get contributions from guys you normally don't," said Fantone.

One of those cases came in the win at Rootstown as Barracato poured in a career high 16 points off the bench.

A 5-foot-10 guard, Barracato nailed a pair of 3-pointers and had the hot shooting hand off the pines.

"Alex had a great game and he has really been huge for us," said his coach.

Woodridge held the Rovers (0-11, 0-6) to a season low 10 field goals and shot only 26-percent shooting.

Perry put in 10 points while Mong had eight, Mathews six, Harry six, Coleman four, McCoy two, and Johnson had two.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

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