When Kirtland lost to Harvey in its Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division opener on Dec. 8 it left the Hornets little room for error if they hope to win a third straight league title.
Friday’s 52-14 win over conference rival Berkshire should serve notice to the rest of the Valley teams that the Hornets aren’t ready to relinquish their crown.
“The girls played well,” said Kirtland coach Bob Bell. “It was certainly the best defensive game we’ve played all year. We came out and put a three-quarter court pressure on them and dropped into a zone, which was the first time we’ve played a zone all year. It was effective.”
Kirtland, which improved to 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the CVC, jumped out to a 19-4 lead after the first quarter and led 32-6 at halftime.
The Hornets dominated on both ends of the floor.
“Obviously, things were going our way for most of the game,” Bell said. “They struggled to shoot the ball a little bit too. We’ve been there. It happens to teams.”
“They’ve been scoring pretty consistently,” Bell said. “Sam’s been pretty much our leader, which is the way it should be, but we had a total team effort offensively on the boards.”
Kirtland’s defense helped create a lot of additional scoring opportunities.
“Taylor Somodji had a really good game in the press. She had a lot of steals,” Bell said. “Both guards, Kerri Zalba and Grace Powers, they tipped a lot of loose balls that Sam Achauer and Taylor picked up and Sidney. That really helped.”
Ponzani played in just her third game in two seasons after missing all of last year with an injury and suffering a fractured ankle earlier this fall.
“She’s starting to get a little bit more into the rhythm of playing after being out almost two years,” Bell said. “She had wrist surgery last year and came back this year and fractured her ankle in the first scrimmage. She was in a boot for about four weeks. It’s been about five or six weeks no and she’s and finally back a little bit.”
The Hornets travel to Riverside on Monday then play at CVC rival Cardinal on Friday.