Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Kirtland wins defensive battle at Cuyahoga Heights

CUYAHOGA HEIGHTS—On a night when baskets were at a premium, Kirtland forced 21 turnovers on the way to a 36-19 win at league rival Cuyahoga Heights on Wednesday.

“We played good defense and when you come over here, we know that scoring is tough,” Kirtland coach Bob Bell said. “Baskets come really, really difficult here at Cuyahoga Heights because they play such disciplined defense. We knew on the flipside we also had to play good defense because the offense isn’t going to be what it generally is.”

The Hornets led just 9-5 after the first quarter then used a late four-point run in the second quarter to take a 15-8 lead into the break.

“That was big with the turnovers there and they got an offensive rebound there late,” Cuyahoga Heights coach Al Martin said. “I thought we did a really good job on the boards because they’re the best offensive rebounding team we face every year. They just really go after the ball. I thought we did a really good job tonight blocking them out and getting some loose balls and getting some tough rebounds but they got a turnover late and they got an offensive rebound and it went from 11-8 to 15-8. That was really big.”

Bell then employed a 1-3-1 trap in the second half that made it even more difficult on the Redskins’ offense.

Kirtland forced 10 turnovers out of that trap, which led to the Hornets scoring 21 points in the final 16 minutes.

“I think in the third quarter it really gave us a little bit of breathing room,” Bell said. “In the first half, we were mixing up different presses. We saved that one for the second half. Our girls did a pretty nice job of covering the floor on that.”

Kirtland’s Lauren Lutz led all scorers with eight points while Lauren Snyder and Jenna Sayle each contributed to the win with five. Julia Camino, Macy McIntosh and Grace Wolfe each scored four for the Hornets and Amber Yurick finished with two.

The Hornets shot just 14-for-46 from the floor.

“Offensively, we struggled but it happens,” Bell said.

Tori Santiago led Cuyahoga Heights with six points. Brooke Wilson and Mia Spicer both added five for the Redskins.

“We struggle a lot to score the ball, not just tonight, but they’re a really good defensive team, which makes it harder on us,” Martin said. “We struggled just to make the next pass a few times and not even get a shot. We got a couple of good looks and we’ve got to make them if we want a chance against a team like that.”

Kirtland closed out the regular season with a 17-5 record overall and the Hornets finished with a 12-2 mark in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division. Cuyahoga Heights dropped to 13-7, 10-4.

Kirtland 36 Cuyahoga Heights 19

Kirtland (17-5, 12-2 CVC): Sayle 5, Camino 4, Snyder 6, Lutz 8, McIntosh 4, Yurick 2, Wolfe 4

Cuyahoga Heights (13-7, 10-4 CVC): Wilson 5, McK. Spicer 3, Santiago 6, Mia Spicer 5

Kirtland 9 6 9 12 — 36
Cuyahoga Heights 5 3 3 8 — 19

Free throws: Kirtland 7 of 10, Cuyahoga Heights 4 of 7; 3-pointers: Kirtland 1 (Sayle), Cuyahoga Heights 3 (Santiago 2, Spicer); Rebounds: Kirtland 36 (Sayle 9), Cuyahoga Heights 33 (Wilson 12); Assists: Kirtland 5, Cuyahoga Heights 4 (Wilson 3)

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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