Kirtland exploded for 18 points in the fourth quarter to pull away from host Cuyahoga Heights in a 44-24 win on Saturday.
With the win, the Hornets improved to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division while the Redskins dropped to 5-2 and 3-1.
“That was a very big win,” said Kirtland coach Bob Bell. “The girls played really well and we had balanced scoring. It was a great defensive game and we kept our turnovers under 10. It was a great effort by our kids.”
Sophomore Lauren Snyder hit a pair of 3-pointers to help the Hornets jump out to a 14-9 first quarter lead.
“That was huge,” Bell said. “It really made a big difference. She got a little bit of room and she knocked down the 3s. That helped us get an early, a small, but early lead. They had to play from behind the whole game.”
The Hornets were held to just six points in the second quarter but Kirtland’s defense stepped up to limit the Redskins to just four.
Kirtland increased its lead to 26-18 after the third quarter then found its offensive in the fourth quarter.
“We talked at halftime and said we have a six or seven point lead, now we know we can play here,” Bell said. “We said, ‘Let’s go out and play even better.’ We started attacking the basket a little bit better and Sydney Snyder and Jenna Sayle were getting to the basket. The kids responded well.”
Sydney Snyder scored six of her game-high 15 points in the fourth quarter.
“We knew we had to come out with some fire tonight and be ready to give 100-percent,” Snyder said. “Cuyahoga Heights is a great team and getting this win to take control of the league is the best feeling. We worked hard this past week in practice leading up to the game, so we went in well-prepared and with positive attitudes leading us to this victory tonight.”
Jenna Sayle, who finished with 14 points, also scored six in the final quarter. She also led the Hornets with nine rebounds while Sydney Snyder pulled down eight.
“They wanted to try to keep us in the 20s but tonight we were able to get a few more points on the board,” Bell said. “We just have to keep moving forward. (On Friday), we’ve got to start getting ready for Chardon.”
McKayla Spicer led Cuyahoga Heights with eight points. Emma Lipkowski and Lexi Martin contributed with five and four, respectively.
Kirtland hosts Chardon on Saturday while the Redskins entertain Garfield Heights.
Kirtland 44, Cuyahoga Heights 24
Kirtland (7-0, 4-0): McCollister 3, L. Snyder 10 S Snyder 15, Camino 2, Sayle 14
Cuyahoga Heights (6-1, 3-1): Lipkowski 5, Kepchar 3, Wilson 2, Pignatiello 2, Spicer 8, Martin 4
Kirtland 14 6 6 18 — 44
Cuyahoga Heights 9 4 5 6 — 24
Free throws: Kirtland 6 of 7, Cuyahoga Heights 4 of 4; 3-pointers: Kirtland 2 (L. Snyder 2), Cuyahoga Heights 2 (Lipkowski, Kepchar); Rebounds: Kirtland 28 (Sayle 9), Cuyahoga Heights 15