Saturday, January 28, 2023

Hornets fall to Aurora in postseason primer

Kirtland used Tuesday’s non-conference game against visiting Aurora as a primer for its Division III sectional semifinal at Beachwood next Tuesday.

The Greenmen won the game 76-64 but Kirtand coach Nick Gallo is hopeful the Hornets will be better prepared for the Bison.

“That was a good game for us to play,” Gallo said. “Aurora is very similar to Beachwood. They space it out a little bit and run some of their four high sets. It will be a good game for us to go over there and challenge ourselves. We'll have some opportunities.”

Kirtland, which finished the regular season at 11-11, got off to a slow start and trailed 23-11 after the first quarter.

The Greenmen extended their lead to 44-34 at halftime.

“We played some good minutes today but we turned the ball over 23 times. That was the biggest thing tonight, we didn't value the ball enough,” Gallo said. “That's been the primary cause. We just haven't been good enough offensively and guarding the ball. We're wasting some opportunities on offense. We turned the ball over 23 times and lose by 12. If you score on seven of those possessions we win the basketball game.”

Palmer Capretta led all scorers with 28 points, matching a season high he set two other times this season.

Jeremy Davis contributed with 12 and Dominic Capretta rounded out the top three scorers for Kirtland with six points.

“Palmer played a pretty good game tonight,” Gallo said. “He attacked the basket and was aggressive.”

Kirtland enters the postseason having lost four of its final five games but three of those contests were against schools in the Chagrin Valley Conference Chagrin Division and all Division II teams.

“It's been a rough three weeks but we challenged ourselves in the schedule,” Gallo said.

Aurora 76, Kirtland 64

Aurora: Fobll 2, Huffman 15, Eli 3, Boyle 6, Elsaway 14, Blunt 21, Bizjak 3, Arnold 12

Kirtland (11-11, 10-4): Capretta 6, P. Capretta 28, Samsa 8, Davis 12, Fulco 5, Mueller 2, Cosgrove 2, Bailey 1

Aurora 21 23 9 23 — 76
Kirtland 13 21 10 20 — 64

Field goals: Aurora 28, Kirtland 16; Free throws: Aurora 8 of 12, Kirtland 23 of 28; 3-pointers: Aurora 4 (Huffman 2, Blunt, Bizkaj), Kirtland 3 (Davis 2, Capretta); JV: Kirtland 55-43


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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