Monday, March 20, 2023

Independence honor seniors with win over Hawken

Independence closed out the regular season with a 35-23 win over visiting Hawken on Saturday. With the win the Blue Devils improved to 13-9 overall and sent their four seniors out on a winning note.

All four seniors—Cindy Cooper, Halle Dorko, Nicole Ferrara and Victoria Sirna—were recognized before the game then went out and contributed to the victory.

“It was a great senior night for a great class of seniors,” said Independence head coach Mike Marcinko. “They’ve given us everything they have and worked hard for us. One of the things we kept talking about pre-game was focus because of all that had to go on prior to the game and all the emotions that go with it. I thought the gals did a good job of coming out in the first quarter and performing.”

Independence jumped out to a 15-11 first quarter lead then kept the Hawks from making a run the rest of the way.

Despite the high scoring first quarter the two teams settled in on defense.

Independence’s Hallie Zumack led all scorers with 10 points and the Blue Devils lead Hawken’s top scorers, Emily Oliver and Hannah O’Day, to just eight and three points, respectively.

“I don’t think either team played a very clean or efficient offensive game,” Marcinko said. “Some of that had to do with some self-inflicted stuff, but I thought both teams played really good defense. From our end, we were absolutely thrilled with the way we handled O’Day and Oliver and I thought the gals did a great job with the game plan and what we were doing. Both teams really, really disrupted the other team offensively.”

With Hawken doing everything it could to slow down Dorko, Independence’s leading scorer, several other Blue Devils stepped up on offense.

Dorko and Julia Riley each scored seven points while Sirna had five, Ferrara added four and Cooper contributed with two.

“They were having to work extremely hard offensively to get things done,” Marcinko said. “They hung their hat on their defense and did a good job and always kept the game at arm’s length away. Every once in a while we’d get a crucial bucket. Sirna came off of a ball screen and had a pull up jump and Cindy Cooper, who came off the bench for us, had a great post move inside and scored when we had a drought going. People took turns getting buckets here and there.”

The Blue Devils now will turn their attention to the postseason. They open sectional play on Wednesday when they host Lutheran West.

“It’s a new season now,” Marcinko said. “The regular season is over; now it’s the tournament. It’s a different focus because now you lose and you’re done.”

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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