KIRTLAND–Cuyahoga Heights used a strong second half to hold off Kirtland in a 57-50 Chagrin Valley Conference crossover win on Friday.
“Kirtland does a nice job of getting the ball in and getting it to the backside,” said Cuyahoga Heights coach Michael Tartara. “They are well-coached, and they were well prepared. The fact that our boys persevered really helped us out in the second half.”
Heights opened the game with a 14-10 first-quarter advantage and took a 30-26 lead into the break.
Kirtland responded to a 5-0 Heights run and pulled to within three but again Heights hit some key shots to take an eight-point lead into the final period.
The Hornets again pulled to within one possession in the final minutes but Heights made key plays down the stretch to seal its win.
Dominic Belko led Heights with a game-high 23 points while Nate Biggers scored 11. Braylan McClardy also scored in double figures with 10. David Collins added six.
“It was just a good team effort,” Belko said. “We all just came together and defense and rebounding was a big thing.”
Kirtland has plenty of room to grow and improve.
“We have to get better. We are a young team and relatively inexperienced at the varsity level,” said Kirtland coach Shawn McGregor. “We are learning on the run and game situations are something you just learn by playing.”
Gage DiFabio led the Hornets with 13 points and Owen Mueller added 10.
“We just have to work on our defense,” DiFabio said. “We gave up too many open layups, and we were not matched at all, and we just have to get more scoring.”
With the win, Cuyahoga Heights improved to 9-4 overall and 3-3 in the CVC Metro Division. Cuyahoga Heights hosts Trinity in a conference game on Tuesday.
Kirtland fell to 3-6 and 3-2 in league play. The Hornets host Berkshire on Tuesday.