Monday, March 20, 2023

Independence opens season with big win over Lutheran West

Mike Marcinko’s debut as Independence’s head coach went about as well as could be imagined. The Blue Devils knocked off visiting Lutheran West, 57-30, and seven different players scored in the game.

Nicole Ferrara scored 10 points and led the Blue Devils on defense

“I told the girls the first one is the toughest one,” Marcinko said. “I’m very pleased to get it out of the way and take a breath and get the season underway. Our mantra all during practice in preseason was to play at a pace we want to play at, play quick, which I thought we did. We played at a pace that I thought was hard for them to deal with.”

The Blue Devils jumped out to a 10-5 lead and increased it to 28-13 at halftime.

They did it with solid defense and balanced scoring.

Halle Dorko scored a game-high 19 points and Nicole Ferrara scored 10. Hallie Zumack pitched in with eight and Jess Dmitruk, Anna Massey and Julia Riley each scored six for the Blue Devils. Cindy Cooper scored two points.

“We spread it around,” Marcinko said. “Jess and Anna Massey came off the bench and gave us good minutes offensively and defensively. Julia Riley did a nice job on defense too doubling up on the post and played the point when Nicole got a break. She was very flexible.”

Dorko’s scoring outburst is even more impressive when considering she only played about two and a half quarters due to foul trouble.

“She didn’t play at all in the second quarter and only half of the fourth,” Marcinko said. “She’s such an athlete and a competitor. She finds the ball and makes things happen.”

Ferrara sparked the Blue Devils on both sides of the ball.

“She had a job to do with their point guard today,” Marcinko said. “She single-handedly slowed down their sideline break and took away what they wanted to do.”

The Blue Devils return to action on Friday when they travel to Wickliffe for a key Chagrin Valley Conference Metro Division showdown.

“I couldn’t be happier coming out of first game,” Marcinko said. “It’s good getting that first win and playing the way we wanted to play. I told the girls sometimes we don’t enjoy the wins enough so enjoy it but let’s get back to work.”


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.

Related Articles

Stay Connected


Latest Articles

Spartans repeat as Division IV state champions

Richmond Heights used a pair of big runs to pull away from Crestview in a dominating 70-26 win in the Division IV state championship game.

Softball Preview: Cuyahoga Heights Red Wolves

After sharing the conference title with rival Independence the past two years, Cuyahoga Heights’ softball team plans to be a bit stingy this spring.

Softball Preview: Beachwood Bison

Beachwood’s softball program is trending up for the first time since COVID hit the program hard.

Lutheran West, Richmond Heights to play for state title

Lutheran West and Richmond Heights are one win away from a state title after their semifinal victories on Friday.

Baseball Preview: Geneva Eagles

With four returning starters and a new head coach, Geneva’s baseball team enters the 2023 season optimistic about its chances to find success.