Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Defensive intensity leads Independence to win over Fairport

Kyle Stefanski scored a game-high 22 points but it was Independence’s defense that had the greatest impact in Tuesday’s 58-47 win over Fairport Harding.

Alec Jendre contributed with 11 points and Mario Figliola added 10 for the Blue Devils in the win.

“I thought our defensive intensity was excellent for the entire game,” said Independence coach Hugh McMahon. “Once we settled down with the ball we executed better and got good shots off of our defensive pressure. Our team intensity on defense was excellent.”

Stefanski scored 13 of his points in the third quarter when the Blue Devils turned a one point lead into a rout.

“Our third quarter, where we scored 26 points, we played probably our best basketball of the season,” McMahon said.

That started with Stefanski hitting many of the shots he missed in the first half.

“He had some good shots that didn’t fall in the first half,” McMahon said. “We tried to impress on Kyle, even though he’s a sophomore, he’s a leader on the team, and he’s just got to keep taking those shots in order for our offense to click. He stepped up. We ran some nice stuff for him but he also created his shots at time.”

Jendre, who was limited by an injury early in the season, also rose to the challenge.

“Alec really gave us a boost,” McMahon said. “He missed a lot of time with injury and he’s still a little raw as far as playing time and experience this year but he really gave us a boost. He shot the ball well and played excellent defense.”

Figliola continues to make strides this season and he is closer than ever to reaching his full potential.

“Mario had a solid game,” McMahon said. “He’s still got a couple things, some small glitches that if he corrects he can have some really good games for us. He’s a hard worker and I think he’ll get it done.”

Verlin Williams led Fairport with 16 points.

Independence, which has now won two straight games, hosts Hawken on Friday.

Steve Harehttp://www.ohiovarsity.com
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes OhioVarsity.com, 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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