KIRTLAND—Boubacar Djigo scored a game-high 19 points in leading Lutheran West to a 62-35 win at Kirtland on Tuesday.
The Longhorns, winners of the Chagrin Valley Conference Metro Division title, were ready for a battle with the Hornets, who are one win away from claiming the Valley Division title.
“When we started preparing for them a couple of days ago, we were looking at them and we’re like, ‘Man, they play extremely hard and they’re well-coached and have a couple of guys that are hard to prepare for,” said Lutheran West coach Jordan Duke of the Hornets. “We had to come and be prepared for them and we were ready. We’re just trying to play at a high level and get ready for the playoffs.”
Lutheran West scored the first seven points of the game and went on to lead 21-12 after the first quarter.
Kirtland slowed the Longhorns down in the second but still trailed at halftime, 31-18.
With Djigo dominating the paint—and recording four dunks—the Hornets worked their defense inside, which opened the door for the Longhorns on the perimeter.
Lutheran West drained six 3-pointers in the second half.
“Our seniors and some of our other guys who knocked shots down are pretty consistent,” Duke said. “The thing about it is this team is extremely unselfish. When guys are guarded, they’re looking for their shooters and they have confidence those guys will knock shots down. They play well together. It took a little time for them to come together, but they’re coming together and playing well right now.”
Josh Meyer also scord in double figures for the Longhorns with 10 points and Jack LaPointe contributed with eight points, D.J. Robinson added seven, and Jamie Peterson scored four. Junior Kombamba, Lewis Smith, Elijah Villamil, and Matt Meyer each pitched in with three points, and Eric Dill scored two in the win.
“That’s an elite team,” said Kirtland coach Shawn McGregor of the Longhorns. “We talked about that coming into the game and just competing. With elite teams, you have to get used to the speed of the game. It’s different and when you have that type of length and athleticism, it took us a minute to catch up to the speed of the game, but I thought our kids competed unbelievably well. That team is extremely talented and for our kids to show the competitive nature and that passion they had to play, I was extremely proud of them.”
Ramon Lescano led Kirtland with 10 points. Pierce Boyd added seven, Gage DiFabio scored six, and Gino Blasini finished with four. Mason Rus, Vince Carriero, and Charlie Burris each added two points and Victor Alfieri and Owen Mueller scored one each.
Kirtland dropped to 9-10 overall and 8-6 in league play. The Hornets need a win at Berkshire on Saturday to clinch the Valley Division title.
The Longhorns can help the Hornets in that regard as they close out league play with a home game against Cardinal on Friday. The Hornets and Huskies are locked in a first-place tie.