“I thought we had a nice balanced attack,” said Kirtland coach Bob Bell. “I was really glad the girls went out and approached the game with a serious attitude that it was a ballgame and Berkshire wasn’t just going to hand it over to us and we had to earn it.”
Kirtland led 12-3 after the first quarter and took a 29-11 lead into halftime. The Hornets outscored the Badgers, 26-6, in the second half to pull away and improve to 9-6 overall and 4-1 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division.
“The kids responded very well with good, solid defense,” Bell said. “We moved the ball around very well. We had two players in double figures, Sam Achauer with 20 and Taylor Somodji with 13, but Claire Neibecker had nine, so she was very close. On top of that, we had five other people contribute in the scoring column. Eight of our 11 girls scored. That was pretty good.”
Defensively, the game plan was to make it difficult for Berkshire’s shooters to get a good look at the basket.
The Hornets perfectly carried out that plan and limited the Badgers to just five field goals in the game.
“We tried to pressure every shot,” Bell said. “That’s what we want to do defensively is put enough pressure on the shooters to cause the percentages to stay down. That’s what happens if somebody is effectively playing defense on us that way. We kept a lot of pressure on them defensively and caused quite a few turnovers.”
The win kept Kirtland in reach of division lead Harvey, who remains 4-0 in league play and beat the Hornets, 56-48, on Dec. 8. The two teams could play for the conference title on Feb. 4 at Harvey.
“I’m hoping somebody can give them a loss and then if we can beat them we can win it outright,” Bell said. “If that doesn’t happen it will come down to us and Harvey in that final game. It’s going to be a big game.”
Kirtland hosts Willoughby South on Monday.