Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Cuyahoga Heights denies Kirtland share of CVC title

Kirtland’s chances of sharing the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division title with Hawken ended with a 47-45 loss at Cuyahoga Heights on Tuesday.

Hawken won the conference crown with an 11-3 league record while the Hornets finished CVC play with a 10-4 mark.

“Tough loss for us tonight,” said Kirtland coach Nick Gallo. “It's tough not to earn a share of the title but I told the guys that the task at hand is to finish strong and look ahead to Beachwood (in the sectionals) and prepare for that game.”

Kirtland dropped to 10-9 overall with three regular seasons contests left.

The Hornets opened the game with an 11-9 lead after the first quarter but trailed the Redskins at halftime, 23-19.

Cuyahoga Heights extended its lead to six points heading into the fourth and held on down the stretch.

“I thought they executed better than we did,” Gallo said. “In the second half we did a good job of increasing the tempo. We always know when we go over there that it's difficult to get a high volume of possessions because of the pace they play but we didn't execute defensively well enough in the first half and play with enough intensity to make the pace of the game what we wanted it.”

The Hornets had some chances in the closing minutes but couldn’t convert.

“With the score being where it was we knew it was trouble for us and we lost a 50-50 game down the stretch,” Gallo said. “They did a good job of making free throws and they had a couple plays at the rim. We had a couple chances to get a defensive rebound and hold for the last possession but we didn't collect it.”

Brandon Samsa led the Hornets with a game-high 18 points. Palmer Capretta finished with eight and Jeremy Davis and Dylan Fulco both scored five for the Hornets.

Jimmy Finnerty led Cuyahoga Heights with 13 points.

Kirtland travels to West Geauga on Thursday then hosts Geneva on Friday. The Hornets close out the regular season at home against Aurora on Feb. 21.

Cuyahoga Heights 47, Kirtland 45

Kirtland (10-9): D.Capretta 2 , P. Capretta 8, Samsa 18 , Davis 5 , Fulco 5, Powers 3, Bailey 4

Cuyahoga Heights (): Poik 5, Finnery 13 , Selig 4, Teter 5 , Harris 4 , Collins 7,

Kirtland 11 8 7 19 — 45
Cuyahoga Heights 9 14 9 15 — 47

Free throws: Kirtland 3 of 3, Cuyahoga Heights 21 of 24; 3-pointers: Kirtland 8 (Capretta, Davis, Powers, Samsa 4), Cuyahoga Heights 2 (Lauer, Finnery); JV: Kirtland 46-41

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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