Friday, September 22, 2023

George leads Independence past Cardinal

INDEPENDENCE—Natalie George scored a game-high 17 points in leading Independence to a 52-35 win over visiting Cardinal in a Chagrin Valley Conference crossover game on Friday.

The Blue Devils got off to a bit of a slow start but amped up the pressure on defense and then settled in on the offensive end.

“We missed four open layups in the first quarter and that’s what made it tight,” said Independence coach Mike Marcinko. “We convert those and all of a sudden instead of 16-11 it could be 24-11, but it is what it is. We shored that up the rest of the way, as far as finishing, so, no, I can’t complain.”

Independence outscored the Huskies in the second quarter, 15-6, and led 31-17 at halftime. The Blue Devils outscored the Huskies in the second half, 21-18.

“I thought we got back to flying around the gym and playing at the pace we want to play at and trying to get turnovers and deflections,” Marcinko said. “We felt like we could get to the rim and I thought Natalie did a really good job of reading the gaps and attacking.”

George scored eight of her points in the first quarter and had 12 at the break.

Anna Weber contributed to the win with eight points, Kara DeSmith added seven, Addie Walker pitched in with five, and Casey Adams, Ashley Adams, and Paige Priebe each finished with four. Alex Adams scored three for the Blue Devils, who improved to 2-1 on the year.

Cardinal’s struggles began on the defensive end.

“I think we helped them by not getting back on defense,” said Cardinal coach Joe DiMattia. “We had multiple people just kind of standing and watching or running with their girl at half-court while they had two people at the hoop already and that’s not a good way to play basketball. That’s going to beat you every time.”

The Huskies had some success in getting to the hoop in the early part of the first half but the shots weren’t falling.

“It is what it is,” DiMattia said. “You get good looks and the shots don’t go in, but you just keep working. That’s our second game in a row and we were playing kind of tired and kind of dinged up, but we didn’t quit and that’s all you can ask for.”

Injuries and foul trouble limited the Huskies in the second half.

Haley Domen played sparingly and finished with just three points and Lindsay Hissa sat out most of the second half.

Cassie Nguyen led the Huskies with 12 points while Ronee Collins added seven and Hailey Keller finished with six. Anna Layman scored four points and Carly Ayer finished with three.


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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