Monday, January 30, 2023

Blue Devils stumble at Hawken

GATES MILLS—Independence turned the ball over 23 times and struggled at the line and from the floor in a 47-44 loss at Hawken on Monday.

The Hawks used a 5-0 run in the third quarter to break open a tie game. Independence took a 39-36 late in the fourth quarter and later led, 44-41, but couldn’t hold on as the Hawks scored the final six points of the game.

“We had unofficially 23 turnovers and no one really pressured us. If you’re going to toss it around the gym 23 times and shoot 30-percent from the line and low 30’s or 20’s from the floor you’re not going to win any games,” said Independence coach Mike Marcinko. “We did it to ourselves. Now we’ve got a day off tomorrow to lick our wounds and get back to work on Wednesday to get ready for Saturday’s game.”

Danielle Drockton gave Hawken a 45-44 lead with 41 seconds left to play then she hit a pair of free throws to close out the scoring.

Independence had one final shot to tie the game but Julia Riley’s 3-pointer bounced off the rim as time expired.

The Blue Devils had just 1.8 seconds to inbound the ball to Riley. Hallie Zumack made the tough pass over the Hawken defense and to Riley, who got the shot off in time.

“They did a really, really good job of executing that,” Marcinko said. “We’ve done that before in practice for games so it was something we’ve seen. As much as I would love Hallie to shoot it because she’s a good shooter as well, Hallie is the only one that can make that pass. That’s a tough pass with the backboard there but it’s a tough guard. We thought we could get Jules open. Hallie threw a great pass and we popped her wide open. It shouldn’t have gotten to that. I was happy they executed but it shouldn’t have even got to that.”

Megan Kuczmarski scored a game-high 16 points to lead Independence.

“She does such a nice job for us,” Marcinko said. “She has to do all the dirty work so her rewarding herself with scoring as opposed to getting a boatload of rebounds and not getting a lot of points, she needs that for her confidence. We trust her but it’s nice when you can kind of blow it out and have a good day like that. We’ll keep throwing it to her.”

Zumack added nine points for the Blue Devils and Riley finished with six.

Drockton led Hawken with 13 points and Nayana Ravishankar pitched in with 12.

Independence travels to Fairport on Saturday.


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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