Kirtland’s girls’ basketball team hasn’t played from behind much this season but the Hornets proved on Tuesday they are more than capable of clawing their way back into a game when necessary.
Chagrin Falls drained three 3-pointers in the first quarter to take an early 17-10 lead and pushed that advantage to as many as 12 in the game before the Hornets rallied for a 44-39 win.
“That took a lot of grit for our girls to hang in there and come back,” said Kirtland coach Bob Bell. “They came out just blistering the nets in the first quarter. They were shooting the ball.”
The Tigers ended up with five threes in the first half and led 24-18 at the break.
“We changed the defense up a little bit,” Bell said. “We just kept making a few changes until we found some things that were slowing their offense down and then it was a matter of generating some offense and we did.”
Sydney Snyder led the charge with a game-high 19 points, eight rebounds and four steals and Jenna Sayle also scored in double figures with 13. Lauren Snyder pitched in with eight points.
Sayle and Lauren Lutz each tied Snyder with a game-high eight boards for the Hornets while Lauren Snyder finished with eight assists.
“Sydney just kept hanging in there and getting us offense when we needed it,” Bell said. “Lauren Snyder really did an incredible job for a freshman point guard and Julia Camino was the only sub we used off the bench. She didn't score but she played well for us. She didn't turn the ball over. She just came in and did a nice job.”
Lutz also blocked three shots in the game.
“When she starts to score a little bit she's going to have a total, complete game,” Bell said. “She's playing well in every other phase of the game. The scoring will come. That's probably the last thing that comes around for a basketball player, is the shooting, but she's really playing well.”
The Hornets improved to 15-2 on the year and picked up some momentum heading into a weekend showdown with Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division rival Cuyahoga Heights.
Kirtland is 10-0 in the division while the Redskins are 9-1, having lost only to the Hornets earlier this season.
“That's important that we were able to come back after being down because it looked pretty bleak there,” Bell said. “It does mean a lot. It's another Division II win going into the tournament draw too and not only that, but it means a great deal because our girls played from behind. They just kept their nose to the grindstone and kept working and working.”
Kate Weston and Madeline Miralia each scored 11 points to lead the Tigers, who dropped to 9-8 overall.
Kirtland 44, Chagrin Falls 39
Chagrin Falls (9-8): Weston 11, Dalessandro 0, Owen 9, Miralia 11, Benko 3, Iammarino 4, McCanon 1
Kirtland (15-2): S. Snyder 19, L. Snyder 8, Sayle 13, Lutz 2, Bottesch, McCrory 2
Chagrin Falls 17 7 11 4 — 39
Kirtland 10 8 12 14 — 44
Field goals: Chagrin Falls 14 of 48, Kirtland 19 of 48; Free throws: Chagrin Falls 5 of 10, Kirtland 6 of 11; 3-pointers: Chagrin Falls 6 (Weston 3, Owen 2, Benko), Kirtland 0; Rebounds: Chagrin Falls 23, Kirtland 27 (S. Snyder, Sayle, Lutz 8); Assists: Chagrin Falls 7, Kirtland 8 (L. Snyder); JV: Chagrin Falls 24, Kirtland 22