Kirtland’s long wait to start the 2018-2019 ended on Tuesday with a 57-52 victory over visiting Cardinal.
With the game tied at halftime, 30-30, the Hornets used a 14-6 advantage in the third quarter to pull away from the Huskies.
“It’s always difficult to play the catch up game when other schools have been practicing and playing for seven weeks and we are on week two, but we make no excuses, we want to play hard and represent our families and community to the best of our ability and I think we did that,” Kirtland coach Shawn McGregor said. “We played extremely hard and made some plays in the third quarter defensively to open up a bit of a lead and held on.”
Seann McGill led the Hornets with 13 points but it was the effort on defense in the second half that led the Hornets to the win.
“Coming out of halftime, we switched up our press and started creating more turnovers leading to transition points at the other end,” McGill said. “It was a great team win heading into our game Friday.”
McGill scored seven of his 13 in the second quarter to keep the Hornets on pace with the Huskies in the first half.
“It felt great to get back out there with the guys and finally play a game, especially with all the waiting we had to do with the football team making it to states,” McGill said. “We are basically learning on the fly. At the beginning of the game, I wasn’t being myself on the offensive end. I wasn’t attacking the rim like I normally do. At halftime, coach just told me anytime I get into the paint to score because they were so undersized.”
Luke Camino added eight points in the win and Zach Samsa and Dawson Cosgrove both finished with seven for the Hornets. In all, 10 different Kirtland players scored in the win.
“I feel we are extremely deep,” McGregor said. “We have 15 guys that I believe in with all my heart that will give me everything they have so to have 10 guys put points on the board is a great accomplishment. With the defensive pressure we want to put on teams, it’s imperative that we have a great number of kids contribute when they are given the opportunity. We did that tonight. I love how hard our kids play and I love how much they compete. To me, that’s what matters.”
Matt Carney led Cardinal with a game-high 18 points, including eight in the second quarter, and Robbie Bruncak added 15 but the Huskies struggled to match the Hornets in that decisive third quarter.
“We didn’t execute our offense and our shots weren’t falling either,” Cardinal coach Jon Cummins said. “The kids kept battling but it was too little, too late.”
Cardinal closed out the fourth quarter with a 16-13 advantage.
Kirtland (1-0 overall, 1-0 in the Chagrin Valley Conference) travels to Cuyahoga Heights on Friday while Cardinal (3-2, 1-2) hosts Richmond Heights.
Kirtland 57, Cardinal 50
Cardinal (3-2, 1-2 CVC): Bruncak 15, Carney 18, Hogue 1, Horner 5, Miller 2, Heredos 2, Granny 5
Kirtland (1-0, 1-0 CVC): Capretta 6, Mueller 3, Cosgrove 7, Powers 5, Samsa 7, Bottesch 2, Gron 2, Camino 8, McGill 13, Bailey 4
Cardinal 12 16 6 16 — 50
Kirtland 11 19 14 13 — 57
Free throws: Cardinal 12 of 20, Kirtland 9 of 20; 3-pointers: Cardinal 5 (Bruncak 3, Dial 2), Kirtland 4 (Cosgrove 2, Capretta 1, Samsa 1)