Friday, September 22, 2023

Achauer shines on Senior Day as Kirtland tops Cardinal

KIRTLAND—The Kirtland girls’ basketball team recognized seniors Samantha Achauer and Sarah Steigerwald prior to the start of the Hornets’ Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division game on Saturday afternoon.

Achauer then went out and dropped 24 points on the Huskies in a 55-25 win that improved Kirtland’s record to 10-7 overall and 5-1 in league play.

“Sam is perpetual motion when she’s on the floor,” said Kirtland head coach Bob Bell. “She’s always looking for ways to score. She just developed her game and she had a good individual performance today. All of them played well. We wanted to focus on the seniors but everybody contributed.”

The Hornets jumped out to a 10-0 lead and never looked back as they built a 32-7 halftime lead.

“I’m pleased with the way the girls came out and handled themselves,” Bell said. “There were a lot of distractions today. We had the Little Lady Hornets in between games and the girls had an active part in helping them and then we had Senior Day. I thought they focused very well and came out and played very good defense in the first half and executed the offense. They basically did what we needed to do to win.”

It was a rough afternoon for the Huskies but their play improved in the second half as they began playing team basketball.

“I challenged the girls in the second half,” said Cardinal head coach Luke Kruse. “I said, ‘We’re not going to be able to walk out of here with our heads held high. Show me like it’s 0-0 and let’s start this game over so we can at least walk out of here with a little bit of pride and dignity.’ We almost played them even in the second half, so I’m glad we responded. The bottom line is we’ve got to play 32 minutes of good team basketball, not 16 minutes. That’s not acceptable.”

Taylor Somodji added nine points for Kirtland while Kerri Zalba contributed with eight and Deanna Ponzani scored six for the Hornets.

Jess Koches led Cardinal with eight points and Haley Adams added five.

“I thought Haley and Jess did a nice job in the second half putting some points on the board and just as a team they were communicating on the defensive end,” Kruse said. “They were calling out screens. They were playing the help line. We didn’t let Sam get whatever she wanted in the second half. Just playing like a team in the second half was positive, but as I said, we need to do that for a whole game not a half a game.”

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Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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