Monday, June 11, 2012
By BRANDON JUDEH
Walking into the dimmed, secluded hallway of Canfield High School, after hours, it is easy to overlook the school’s sports hall of fame.
When the sunlight peered through the windows, ironically, it shined right on Jim Mangapora’s portrait.
Moments later a towering man — Mangapora —walked through the doors with his daughter, Sabrina.
She is coming off of a magnificent junior campaign which saw her attain several honors in volleyball and basketball.
Sabrina had just found out she was named to the All-Ohio team for basketball. It was not something her or Jim were expecting.
“It was a nice surprise,” said Jim. “We weren’t sure if she would get named All-Ohio, so to see her get first team is great.”
That was only one of the many awards Sabrina received this season, and for her career.
The list is long, but some of her major awards in basketball include: district player of the year, first team all-district, first team All American Conference three years in a row and Division II player of the year.
Her dad is no stranger to success either.
Jim, a 1985 graduate of Canfield, had quite a career. He holds the school record for most blocked shots in a season and for a career and also owns the boys record for most points per game in a season with 21.4.
That latter is a record Sabrina would love to surpass.
“I wanted to beat that record so bad,” Sabrina said with a grin. “I fell just short this year, but I kept telling my mom throughout the season that I wanted to beat dad’s record, maybe next year.”
Her ultimate goal, though, is to get the state tournament, especially after getting reaching the regional in both sports this year.
“Next year we want to get back to regionals and make a run at state,” said Sabrina. “We got to see what it was like to make it that far and now we want it even more.”
Canfield surprised everyone, including undefeated and state-ranked Ravenna on their way to the regional in basketball.
Sabrina sank the winning basket in the district finalagainst West Branch, when she received a long pass from freshman Rachel Tinkey and nailed a jump shot as time expired.
The road traveled by Sabrina is one Jim knows very well.
“When I was in high school we were playing a powerful South High School team that was state-ranked and went about nine or 10 players deep,” he said.
“They knew they were going to blow us out on their way to state, but we ended up upsetting them; they were so disappointed.”
He scored 11-points in the fourth quarter, including the go-ahead points, to seal the win for the Cardinals.
Unfortunately for Jim, he never had a chance to cut down the nets as his team lost the next game. To this day when he thinks of the South game, it raises the hair on the back of his neck.
Despite all the similarities there is one difference between father and daughter.
Jim dominated in one sport, Sabrina in two.
Sabrina also had a stellar season in volleyball last fall.
For the third consecutive year she made first team AAC and was named conference player of the year. She also was selected to first team all-district for the second year. She also owns many of the school’s records.
The Cardinals marched through the season with only one loss and won a district title.
“Not to sound cocky, but we knew we were very good and were going to go far,” Sabrina said. “To win a district championship was great and we want to do it again next season.”
Jim, who received an athletic scholarship to Kent State, was named sixth man of the year in the Mid-American Conference and led to a starting job midway through his sophomore year.
Though she still has plenty of time to decide, Sabrina has already received offers from several Ivy League and MAC and other major conference schools to play basketball.
“It can be overwhelming, I haven’t narrowed it down yet to possible schools, nor am I sure which sport I am going to play in college,” she said.
She is finishing up her USA Volleyball tournament season and will soon move on to summer basketball.
During spring break Sabrina and Jim made a trip to Baltimore for a national volleyball tournament and Sabrina said it was a great experience.
Jim and Sabrina aren’t the only athletes in the family. Sabrina’s siblings Mason and Grace also show an interest in multiple sports.
Mason is playing football, basketball and tennis and will be a freshman at Canfield next year. He is also now as tall as Sabrina, which will make it tougher when playing him in back-yard basketball.
“He finally caught up to me, I have to be careful now because for years I beat him up on the basketball court, now he may be doing the same to me,’ Sabrina said.
Her little sister Grace stays busy by playing basketball, volleyball, soccer and tennis. She is also an avid swimmer.
So who in the Mangapora family is the better athlete?
Jim said without a doubt Sabrina has overtaken him because she has achieved more than he did in high school sports.
“I was just focused on basketball, but Sabrina has been a dominating player for three years in volleyball and basketball. And when you look at the records and the numbers she has me beat,” Jim said.