KIRTLAND—Brendan Paul hit a pair of late 3-pointers to lead Hawken to a come from behind 65-62 win over Kirtland on Tuesday.
Kirtland had opened the game with a 16-3 run but the Hawks battled back for the win.
“We just didn't keep up the energy,” said Kirtland coach Nick Gallo. “We got off to a great start but I knew they were going to bounce back.”
The Hornets used defensive pressure to create a handful of early transition baskets in storming out to the early lead, but the Hawks didn’t flinch.
“We came out and pressed them and created some turnovers,” Gallo said. “We were playing at pace and made some shots but I knew the game was going to even out. We're just two even teams.”
Hawken pulled to within 22-17 after the first quarter and took a 35-34 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Kirtland led, 46-44, after three and the lead changed five times in the fourth quarter.
Brandon Samsa scored four straight points to give the Hornets a 52-46 lead with 5:48 left but the Hawks used a 5-0 run to trim their deficit to just one point.
With the score tied at 53-53, Paul sandwiched his 3-pointers around a pair of Palmer Capretta free throws to make it 59-55 in favor of Hawken.
Dylan Fulco’s and-one cut the Hawken lead to 59-58 and Samsa then hit a pair of free throws to give the Hornets their last lead of the night.
Hawken closed out the game with back-to-back layups and a pair of free throws.
“We have so many shooters on this basketball team, we're shooting 35 or 36-percent as team, we just didn't play team ball tonight,” Gallo said. “That's what it comes down to. We had 18 turnovers on our side of the floor. We were giving up possessions and we still scored 62 points with 18 turnovers. That shows what this team is capable of if they value the ball. That’s what this comes down to.”
Samsa led the Hornets with 17 points while Jeremy Davis scored 10 and Fulco finished with nine.
Kirtland dropped to 8-5 overall and 8-2 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division. Hawken improved to 12-3, 9-2 and are now in a three-way tie with the Hornets and Cuyahoga Heights for first place in the league standings.
The Hornets can still win the division outright but they’ll need some help from the rest of the Valley Division teams. They return to action on Friday at Independence.
“One at a time,” Gallo said. “I told the guys, the rest of the way we have a lot of opportunities left to win basketball games. Every game we've got going forward, I feel good about it. We just have to take the one on Friday and see if we can get back on track. We just have to keep the guys positive.”
Hawken 65, Kirtland 62
Hawken (12-3, 8-2 CVC): Ross 10, Kates 10, Brown 16, Paul 12, Faxon 4, Clark 0, Snyder 0, Davis 2, Jones 2. Burrows 9
Kirtland (8-5, 8-2 CVC): D.Capretta 4, P. Capretta 9, Samsa 17, Davis 10, Fulco 9, Work 0, Mueller 5, Cosgrove 0, Powers 2, Bailey 6
Hawken 17 18 9 21 — 65
Kirtland 22 12 12 16 — 62
Free throws: Hawken 7 of 14, Kirtland 15 of 21; 3-pointers: Hawken 5 (Paul, Brown 3, Ross), Kirtland 5 (Mueller, Fulco, Davis, Samsa, P. Capretta); JV: Kirtland 51, Hawken 38