A slow start forced Independence head coach Hugh McMahon to make some defensive adjustments.
The switch to a trapping defense helped the Blue Devils climb back into their non-conference game against Brooklyn but the Hurricanes pulled out a 53-52 win in the consolation game of the Joe LaBella Tournament at Cuyahoga Heights on Thursday.
“We had to change up some defenses to get the guys moving a little bit, so we came out and trapped them,” McMahon said. “I thought the effort in our trap game was phenomenal for the last three quarters.”
Brooklyn led 13-7 after the first quarter and 25-23 at halftime.
Independence took a 37-35 lead into the fourth quarter but couldn’t keep pace with the Hurricanes in the final eight minutes of play.
“We had opportunities in the fourth,” McMahon said. “It kind of went back and forth. We missed a few things. It's a tough way to lose when you lose by one but there's a million little things that everybody could look at that they could have done that kind of gets you over the hump when you lose by one. That's the hard part.”
Kyle Stefanski scored a game-high 25 points for the Blue Devils. Andrew Teribery finished with eight, Adam Kuczmarski pitched in with six, Akhil Patel contributed with five and Jack Ksiazka closed out the game with four points. Harley Glime and Alex Hall each had two points in the loss.
“It's been tough on Kyle because he's more of a natural two-guard and he's had to play a lot of point guard this year because we've had our point guards in and out with injuries,” McMahon said. “He really stepped up tonight and attacked. He made some big shots down the stretch to get us back into it. He's definitely our leader but we're looking for somebody else to step up a little bit. We're not looking for Superman. We're just asking for someone to step up and be a little more consistent. That really will go a long way towards us having more success.”
Independence dropped to 1-6 overall but the Blue Devils continue to play hard.
“I really love the effort that our guys are giving,” McMahon said. “I see us coming along and while it doesn't show right now in the win column, I really think they're pushing their limits and trying to get better every day. I really love them for that.”
The Blue Devils travel to Kirtland on Tuesday.