Saturday, January 28, 2023

Blue Devils fall short at Cuyahoga Heights

Prior to Tuesday’s game at rival Cuyahoga Heights, the Independence Blue Devils hadn’t allowed less than 42 points in a single game this season.

The Blue Devils set a new season low for points allowed, unfortunately they also tied a season low in points scored and fell to the Redskins, 26-25.

“The effort was there and the belief in the game plan, when we executed it, it did exactly what we were looking to do,” said Independence coach Hugh McMahon. “I was really proud of that.”

Both teams scored 11 points in the first quarter then became more deliberate in setting up their respective offenses.

RawSpiceBarThe Redskins outscored the Blue Devils, 11-3, in the second quarter but Independence’s defense tightened up in the second half and allowed a total of just four points, all in the third quarter.

“We held a team to four points in the second half of a high school basketball game and gave ourselves several opportunities down the stretch,” McMahon said. “We had three or four opportunities where were down one and had a chance to score but we weren't able to convert.”

Both teams went to a ball control offense, which shortened the game and led to the low scoring contest.

“We were very deliberate offensively and both teams packed in their defenses,” McMahon said. “That allowed each side to control the ball for a while. That was the game plan, to keep it close and to make sure that we could try to break them down before taking any quick shots. I thought we did a great job in man to man and we did some zone as well. We did a great job. It frustrated them. We rebounded the ball pretty well, especially in the second half. That gave us some opportunities on some run outs and got some easy looks.”

Cuyahoga Heights was held scoreless in the final eight minutes of play but the Blue Devils couldn’t take advantage, especially at the free throw line where they finished shooting under 50-percent.

“One thing we could have done better, we were under 50-percent from the free throw line,” McMahon said. “If we converted a few more of those the ball game could have bene ours.”

Kyle Stefanski led Independence with a game-high 14 points. Jack Ksiazka pitched in with five and Jacob Allen finished with four. Jamie McMahon rounded out the Independence scoring with two points.

Brett Lowther led Cuyahoga Heights with seven points and Ryan Polk, Tyler Selig and Dominic Collins each contributed with five.

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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