A season ago, Boardman’s Daeone Martin was starring on the Spartans’ junior varsity team while teammate Derrick Anderson earned just six varsity starts.
During Friday’s season opener against East, the junior classmates had no trouble transitioning to leadership roles expected of them by head coach Pat Birch.
Martin scored a game-high 24 points in his first varsity start, Anderson added 21 points and the two combined for 45 points to lead the Spartans to a 65-48 win over the Golden Bears in the season opener.
Both players agreed that Birch’s speech at halftime — East held a 27-26 lead — was all the motivation the team needed to turn things around after intermission.
“Coach told us to keep playing tough defense, hustle, give the effort that we do in practice and things would turnaround in the second half,” Martin said. “He said to keep pushing the ball offensively and play pressure defense.
The All-American Conference is an OHSAA-sanctioned league, created in 2008 as the result of the merger between the Trumbull Athletic Conference and the Metro Athletic Conference in Ohio. The league has 21 different member schools, with 17 sports offered throughout fall, winter and spring sports seasons.