With its 49-41 win at Hawken on Wednesday the Independence girls’ basketball team cleared two obstacles. The win was the first for the Blue Devils in the Chagrin Valley Conference Metro Division and it also gave the team its first back-to-back wins of the season.
The Blue Devils, who improved to 7-5 overall and 1-4 in league play, will go for three in a row on Saturday when they host conference rival Wickliffe.
“We’re just trying to run a streak together,” said Independence head coach Mike Marcinko. “It’s being confident and showing up every day regardless of the competition. We had a nice opponent on Monday and got them. We had another very quality opponent with two very good players on Wednesday and won again. We’ll keep building and hopefully take it into Saturday and hopefully win again.”
Behind Halle Dorko, who scored a team-high 19 points, and Hallie Zumack, who added 12, Independence jumped out to an 11-4 lead after the first quarter and led, 23-14, at halftime. The Blue Devils won the third quarter then held on in the fourth as the Hawks made a run.
They did it with an unusual rotation thanks to foul trouble and injuries.
“We were in a bit of foul trouble,” Marcinko said. “Nicole Ferrara very seldom gets in foul trouble but she sat most of the second quarter and a bit of the second half again. Victoria Sirna had to sit out a little bit. We had a little bit of foul trouble so we had to rotate some people and we didn’t have Anna Massey or Jess Dmitruk, which hurt.”
Sirna added eight points and again played well on the defensive end of the floor.
“She hit two threes for us with another key one in the fourth quarter,” Marcinko said. “It’s nice to see her consistent output offensively to go along with her always rebounding and doing a nice job defensively. Now she’s scoring some points which helps us spread out the scoring and hopefully makes us a little tougher to guard at times.”
Freshman Sophia Trombetta also played a key role in the game after being bumped up from the JV squad to replace Massey.
“She had five points and did a nice job playing a little two-guard and a little point guard for us,” Marcinko said. “We threw a 15-year old to the wolves a little bit and she held her own.”
Marcinko used a team approach to guarding Hawken’s best players. Dorko, Zumack and Cindy Cooper all took turns chasing O’Day and Oliver around the court.
“Cindy Cooper did a tremendous job in that second quarter on Oliver,” Marcinko said. “She had one three that quarter and two free throws. I can’t express enough the effort she put in for six minutes nose to nose with that girl. She had one three and she earned it.”