Thursday, September 21, 2023

Blue Devils sharp in win over Cardinal

Independence got off to a hot start and never faded in a 69-40 Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division win over visiting Cardinal on Tuesday.

The Blue Devils led 17-4 after the first quarter and maintained their intensity and focus throughout the game.

“We had lost three of our last four and in a couple of games we felt we could have walked away with wins,” Independence coach Hugh McMahon said. “The guys had a really focused practice on Monday and as a young team we were trying to take that next step and we shared the ball, played hard on defense and didn’t let up. We played the entire game, so I’m really happy with that.”

Six different players scored in the first quarter as the Blue Devils built their lead.

Independence used a team approach on defense as well.

“We were pressuring them and I thought we did a really good job of rotating and getting back,” McMahon said. “We did a good job of contesting any shot they did have but we did bail them out a few times with some easy fouls. That’s one thing young team has to keep working on and mature on. Slowly but surely, we’re getting there.”

Kyle Zygmunt led the Blue Devils with 16 points followed by Wyatt Flynn with 10.

“I liked how Kyle Zygmunt was looking to score at all times and he got hot in the second quarter and that carried over to the third,” McMahon said. “This was easily Wyatt Flynn’s best game. He was really active attacking the glass. It looked like he’s feeling comfortable out there. It’s great to see him back to his old self.”

Eric Mitrisin, Thomas Ceculski, Jake Mitrisin and Adam Miklovic each contributed to the win with six points and Nathan Steffas, Connor Blum, Matt Richards and Jamie McMahon each pitched in with four. Nick Ripepi added three points for the Blue Devils.

“I know this is a team that can shoot the ball,” Coach McMahon said. “We just have to do the work before we get the ball to be ready to score and we worked on that in practice. It showed tonight as we hit 10 3-pointers. I’m really pleased with that.”

Robbie Bruncak led Cardinal with nine points while Austin Miller and Jonathan Heredos both finished with six.

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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