Thursday, September 23, 2021

Blue Devils beat rival Redskins

Independence played a complete game in downing visiting Cuyahoga Heights on Saturday, 39-21.

The Blue Devils, who improved to 12-7 overall and 8-5 in the Chagrin Valley Conference, held the rival Redskins to just 11 points through the first three quarters and distributed the basketball on the offensive end.

“The girls were absolutely thrilled,” said Independence coach Mike Marcinko. “It was a hard-fought win. We played a lot like we wanted to. That was probably our best all-around game as far as putting everything together in one day.”

The win started with keeping Cuyahoga Heights’ sharpshooters, Emma Lipkowski, Lexi Martin and Brooke Wilson, from finding their rhythm.

That trio combined for just 13 points.

“Defensively, I thought we did a heck of a job all-around,” Marcinko said. “Reni Kaiser and Amy Ksiazka chased Lipkowski around all day and limited her touches and looks. Everyone else locked up and did a great job and rebounded well and we got some runouts on some long rebounds.”

On offense, the Blue Devils shared the basketball and passed up good looks for great ones.

“I think the shots we had were better than the first time we played them,” Marcinko said. “The selection and the style was better as opposed to just chucking it up when we’re open. I thought we made better passes and people passed on an open shot to get somebody a better shot.”

Riley Wilson scored a game-high 18 points to lead the Blue Devils to the season split with the Redskins.

“It was really exciting to come back from a loss last time and win at home,” Wilson said. “We had a lot of support from the community and students. We were all patient running our offense and didn’t force the ball in. As a team, we all followed the game plan put together by coach. We all made smart passes to get each other good looks at the rim.”

Kaitlin Richards finished with eight points and Haylee Dmitruk contributed with four.

“Riley Wilson was dominant. That was the best game I think I’ve seen her play,” Marcinko said. “She defended, she rebounded and scored. Every aspect of the game you want your better players to step up and be, she did it. Kaitlin Richards had a solid first half for us. In the second half, they tried to do some pressing late in the third quarter and fourth quarter, so we needed ball handlers more than we needed bigs, so her time was limited in the second half but she had a solid first half. She had a solid block on a layup, which was a key stop for us.”

Cuyahoga Heights dropped to 15-5, 11-3.

The Blue Devils host Cardinal on Wednesday.

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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