KIRTLAND—History was made on Saturday in Kirtland’s 55-37 win over visiting Beachwood in a Division III sectional championship game.
With the win, the Hornets improved to 23-0 overall and set a new school record for wins in a single season.
“That means a lot to the program but the credit goes to the players,” said Kirtland coach Bob Bell. “They’ve worked hard from Day 1 and before. They worked hard in the offseason and this is what happens when you work hard.”
The win didn’t come easily as the Bison challenged the Hornets on nearly every shot and kept the game to within one or two possessions until late in the third quarter.
Kirtland led just 8-6 after the first quarter and 21-20 at halftime.
“It was a test,” Bell said. “Beachwood came out with a really nice game plan and aggressive defense. They forced us to rush our shots a little bit in the first half. After a two week layoff, I was a little bit concerned that might happen, so we kept telling the girls to hang in there and the shots would fall. Little by little in the second half, they did.”
Sydney Snyder, who finished with a game-high 20 points, and Lauren Lutz paced the Hornets in the first half.
Both scored four points in the first quarter and Snyder added eight more in the second. Lutz also pulled down many of her 11 rebounds in the first half.
“She got some really big buckets inside for us early,” Bell said of Lutz. “She’s always a good rebounder and she got 11 with 11 points. She just played an incredible game inside.”
Lutz scored seven points in the third quarter to help the Hornets push their lead to 34-28.
Snyder and Jenna Sayle stepped up in the fourth quarter to finish off the Bison.
Sayle scored 10 of her 14 and Snyder was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line in the final eight minutes of the game.
“I have to give them a lot of credit for maintaining their poise and hanging in there and playing well,” Bell said. “Sydney and Jenna get it done for us outside and Katie McCollister handling the pressure was incredible and Lauren Snyder too and on defense. Katie and Lauren were handling the ball for us and getting it into scoring position.”
Snyder’s free three throws kept Beachwood from making a run.
“She gave us the cushion that we needed,” Bell said. “She hit all eight of them in the fourth quarter. That was huge.”
Amber Yurick came off the bench to score six points with three rebounds. Sayle also pulled down eight rebounds and Sydney Snyder finished with six.
McCollister finished with a team-high four assists.
Kirtland, the No. 2 seed, advanced to the North Ridgeville district semifinals where they will play No. 3 Lutheran West at North Ridgeville High School on Wednesday at 7:45 p.m.
Kirtland 55, Beachwood 37
Beachwood (9-14): Griffin 4, Royster 13, Perryman 5, Peck 6, Prince 9
Kirtland (23-0): McCollister 1, L. Snyder 3, S. Snyder 20, Sayle 14, Lutz 11, Yurick 6
Beachwood 6 14 8 9 — 37
Kirtland 8 13 13 21 — 55
Free throws: Beachwood 8 of 15, Kirtland 12 of 18; 3-pointers: Beachwood 5 (Prince 2, Peck 2, Griffin), Kirtland 1 (L. Snyder); Rebounds: Beachwood 19, Kirtland 31 (Lutz 11); Assists: Beachwood 5, Kirtland 13 (McCollister 4)