Frigid temperatures in the gym may have had a little to do with Kirtland’s slow start at Fairport Harding on Friday, but the Hornets warmed up at the right time and went on to beat the Skippers, 61-49.
“That’s always a tough place to play,” said Kirtland coach Nick Gallo. “It was a chilly night over there. The gym was so cold and we came out cold. I was running up and down the sidelines (to keep warm).”
Fairport held an 11-10 advantage after the first quarter but the Hornets outscored the Skippers, 20-15, in the second to take a 30-26 lead into the break.
“We were playing hard but we didn’t do a great job of attacking the basket,” Gallo said. “At times, we’ve become a little 3-pointer happy. When we make that first 3 we kind of get stuck in that mode. I thought in the second quarter we did a little better job of getting to the basket and our starters did a good job at the start of the third to boost the energy and took care of business.”
The Hornets carried that second quarter momentum into the third and pushed their lead to 48-33 heading into the final eight minutes of play.
Seann McGill, Dylan Aquila and Dylan Fulco each scored nine points to lead the Hornets and Brandon Samsa contributed with eight.
“Dylan Aquila tonight was very special,” Gallo said. “He had a very good game from the moment he came in there. It was just full go the entire night. He had a lot of deflections and hit some big shots for us. I have to give him the game ball. He played really well for us. Without his energy, we don’t stretch that lead out in the third quarter.”
The Hornets, who won their fourth game in a row, improved to 11-5 overall and 9-4 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division. Kirtland hosts Perry on Monday then travels to Geneva on Friday and Jefferson on Saturday.
“We’ve got a very important stretch coming up,” Gallo said. “We’ve got a bunch of games left and we want to finish strong, so it’s important for us to take care of business on Monday and go from there.”
Kirtland 61, Fairport 39
Kirtland (11-5, 9-4 CVC): Capretta 2, Ehler 4, Samsa 8, Cosgrove 2, Fulco 9, Ridgeway 3, Krulc 3, Work 6, Aquila 9, Camino 6, McGill 9
Fairport: Carrabine 1, Yommer 11, Paugh 7, Alston 23, Schaffer 5, Cirino 2
Kirtland 10 20 18 13 — 61
Fairport 11 15 7 16 — 39
Free throws: Kirtland 10 of 17, Fairport 15 of 18; 3-pointers: Kirtland 5 (McGill, Camino, Aquila, Krulc, Ridgeway), Fairport 6 (Alston 4, Paugh, Yommer 2)