Thursday, June 8, 2023

Big second quarter leads Cardinal to win over Hawken

MIDDLEFIELD—Cardinal used a dominating second quarter to pull away from visiting Hawken in a 60-47 season-opening win on Friday.

The Huskies trailed the Hawks after the first quarter, 13-12, then went on a 20-5 second-quarter run to take a 32-18 lead into the break.

“I was happy with how we’ve played because we haven’t had a ‘W’ in the first game in quite a while,” Cardinal coach Jon Cummins said. “The first quarter was a little rough, which is to be expected no matter who you’re playing against, with having new guys on the floor. It’s getting used to being able to play varsity basketball. That was the first quarter. It went back and forth and I didn’t really care as long as it was close, three or four points either way. In the second quarter, we kind of got our feet underneath us and I guess it helps when he hits four threes. That’s a big difference.”

The ‘He’ Cummins referenced was Robbie Bruncak, who hit four 3-pointers in the first quarter. Bruncak went on to score a game-high 21 points on a new school record seven threes.

“My teammates kept finding me and I kept shooting,” Bruncak said. “I’m going to break it again this year. I’m going for around nine or 10.”

With Bruncak drawing Hawken’s defense out to the perimeter, the Huskies were able to drive the lane in the second quarter.

Cardinal bigs Robbie Granny and Austin Miller both had success in the paint. Granny scored four of his six points in the second quarter. He also finished with six rebounds and four blocked shots. Miller finished with three points, seven rebounds and one block.

“Austin is a high-energy guy out there so he gave us a lot just by being active and getting his hand on the ball and that helps a bunch,” Cummins said. “Granny is a big body in there and takes up a lot of space. He does a very good job of moving his feet and putting his hands up without running into somebody out of control. He’s a very controlled defender and being a big body, they don’t go in there too much. He clears out a lot of space.”

Jack Totte led Hawken with 12 points while Eli Buchanan contributed with 11.

The two combined for 11 of Hawken’s 13 first quarter points.

“We got off to a good start and then we didn’t get to finish and had a slow second quarter,” Hawken coach Seth Lieberman said. “We’ve got a lot of young players. I think we had a better third quarter, but we played a tough team and they did well. They had good outside shooting and we couldn’t defend.”

Matt Carney and Brice Hogue both scored in double figures for the Huskies, with 12 and 10, respectively, and Casey Horner added eight points in the win.

The Huskies struggled at times to contain Hawken in the second half.

“We came out with the philosophy in the second half that we have to play good defense,” Cummins said. “We did OK but we’ve still got to work on that. We gave up too many easy paths to the basket. They had a lot of good looks. They couldn’t finish, which was a benefit to us. We’ll watch some tape and see what we can get better on.”

Cardinal travels to Southington Chalker on Tuesday while Hawken looks to bounce back on Saturday at Western Reserve Academy.

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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