Brandon Samsa scored a game-high 16 points and Dylan Fulco added 13 to lead Kirtland to a 58-53 win over visiting University School on Saturday.
The Hornets dropped a tough game to league rival Cuyahoga Heights on Friday but quickly bounced back to top the Preppers.
“After the letdown on Friday, I thought the guys did a really good job of coming back,” said Kirtland coach Nick Gallo. “It was good we had a game 24 hours after that (Cuyahoga Heights) game so we didn’t have to think about it the whole weekend and not have to wait until Fairport on Tuesday to pick ourselves up.”
The win also was the first for Gallo in three tries over his former team. He coached at University for five years before making his way to Kirtland.
“That was a nice win for us,” he said. “That’s my old stomping grounds so to finally get those guys felt pretty good.”
The Hornets edged University, 18-17, in the first quarter then began pulling away with a 15-7 run in the second.
Fulco hit three 3-pointers in the first half to help the Hornets build that 33-22 lead.
“We shot the ball really well. In the first half, we got up to a 14 point lead, which was good,” Gallo said.
Samsa’s 16 points paced the Hornets but he was equally impressive on the defensive end.
“Brandon had 16 tonight but I thought the job he did on (Seven) Richmond was phenomenal,” Gallo said. “Defensively, he was great.”
Adam Mueller and Luke Camino both pitched in with six points and Dawson Cosgrove and Seann McGill finished with five for the Hornets. Matt Krulc and Domenic Capretta both scored four.
“Matt Krulc gave us some great minutes defensively tonight. He played their starting guard really well,” Gallo said. “We were really scrappy on defense tonight. To hold that team to 53 points was a pretty good effort for us.”
The Hornets, who improved to 5-3 overall, host Fairport Harding on Tuesday.
Kirtland 58, University 53
University: Kalady 10, Dobbins 9, Pawlikowsky 3, Kelly 14, Voudouris 8, Richmond 7, Hubbard 2
Kirtland (5-3): Capretta 4, Mueller 6, Samsa 16, Cosgrove 5, Fulco 13, Krulc 4, Work 2, Camino 6, McGill 5
University 17 7 11 18 — 53
Kirtland 18 15 16 9 — 58
Free throws: Kirtland 11 of 18, University School 5 of 16; 3-pointers: Kirtland 9 (Fulco 3), University School 8 (Kalady 2, Dobbins 2, Kelly 2)