Kirtland got off to a fast start and never looked back in a 61-47 win at Richmond Heights on Tuesday that kept the Hornets in a tie for first place in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division.
The Hornets, who improved to 7-5 overall and 6-1 in CVC play, used a 19-10 second quarter run to pull away from the Spartans.
“We played very well,” said Kirtland coach Nick Gallo. “Defensively, I think we were very solid. That 1-2-2 zone we used the both times we played them this year really gave them problems. I think that threw them off kilter, so that was good.”
Kirtland led just 16-14 after the first eight minutes of play but pulled away in the second quarter thanks to creating extra scoring opportunities.
“I thought we rebounded very well,” Gallo said. “We mentioned that very early in the game that our guards had to rebound well to try to give ourselves as many extra possessions as possible because they have a 6-9 guy in there that really clogs the lane. We did a good job of getting a few extra possessions early to set the tone for the game.”
Palmer Capretta converted those extra possessions into points as he scored 11 of his 12 points in the first half.
“He was all over the place in the first quarter,” Gallo said. “He had 11 in the first half so he was very solid.”
Owen Lewis led the Hornets with a game-high 14 points and Cole DiFabio and Jeremy Davis also scored in double figures with 11 and 10, respectively.
“We were very balanced again,” Gallo said. “We have scoring coming from all over the place. Evan Madden only had eight points but he was a monster on the glass. We’re just a very balanced basketball team. I would love to see by the end of the year that we have four guys in double figures. I think that would be really cool. It speaks to the kind of team we have. It’s not a one man show. Everyone is touching the basketball and playing together and having fun with it.”
Kirtland travels to Hawken on Friday then plays four games next week including a key road trip to Berkshire on Thursday that could leave one team in sole possession of first place.
“It’s a big one on Friday at Hawken,” Gallo said. “We have to take it one at a time. It’s a tough place to play and another huge road game for us. We’ve got four games next week so hopefully we get this one on Friday and then get some rest to get ready for the week.”