Spartans look to grow from D-II sectional final loss to Canfield

Mar. 2—CANFIELD — Conneaut senior basketball player Chance Loomis is a firm believer that adversity is a great teacher.

He's hoping the lessons learned during his fourth varsity season will propel him to court success at the college level.

Thiel College in Greenville, Pa., could be his next basketball home.

He's considering majoring in education or marketing.

"But anything can happen in the next couple of months," Loomis said after he scored 19 points Friday in the Spartans' Division II tournament loss to Canfield, 97-29.

After a 3-0 start in December, the Spartans finished 4-19 (0-14 in the Chagrin Valley Lake Division). The win during the 1-19 stretch was on Feb. 13 against St. John (79-66).

"Powering through, keeping my head up," Loomis said are what he'll take away from the season. "It's been super hard, a harder season than usual."

A coaching change plus "a little less skill on the team, trying to keep the guys together, trying to have their confidence stay high" were challenges, Loomis said.

"Battling — being tough was definitely the hardest thing this year," he said.

In the spring, Loomis will be on the Spartans track team —high jump, 100 and 4x100 are his events. He also will be playing basketball for the Under Armour Elite team 'to keep my game sharp."

Spartans head coach Rich Marshall hopes his returning players will follow Loomis' example of spending so much time in the gym.

Loomis and J.R. Hutchison are Conneaut's graduating players.

Marshall said coaching Loomis has been "fun. Great leader on and off the court. It's a pleasure and a privilege to coach a player like Chance Loomis who commits 12 months a year to basketball."

Halfway through the first quarter, Conneaut stood toe-to-toe with Canfield (20-4, winners of the powerful All-American Conference).

Loomis, Hutchison and Noah Hamm each scored 3-pointers for a 9-9 tie.

Then the Cardinals' pressure defense took over, igniting an 18-4 run.

"Those guys are amazing players, they work together," Loomis said of Canfield. "A lot of skill."

Marshall enjoyed seeing "the effort, the adrenaline. We hit some threes, but to their credit, they hit them as well.

"We just missed a lot of shots in quarters two, three and four," he said. "We had a lot of mistakes but we're going to learn from them."

Bryce Roberts led the Cardinals with 20 points.

Also scoring in double figures were Ben Weaver with 14, Dom Cruz and Nico Biondillo with 11 apiece and Jake Delisio with 10.

Marshall hopes his returning players will reflect on this loss as showing "what it takes to be successful. Those boys all play year-round — that's what it takes.

"We're trying to establish a culture ... where our boys play hard, they play together," Marshall said. "We don't have the experience.

"The best thing we can take from [Friday night] is to learn ... from one of the top teams in the state at our level," he said. "We can see the difference from where we are now and where we want to go.

"We're going in the right direction."