Independence senior Anna Massey didn’t lead the Blue Devils in scoring in Wednesday’s 41-24 win over Fairport Harding but she did keep her team in the hunt when it was struggling in the first half.
Massey scored 11 points in the win, tying her career high set against Brooklyn on Nov. 23, 2013.
“She saved us in the first half,” said Independence coach Mike Marcinko. “She shot well and read it right because they were sagging in on Megan (Kuczmarski). If they’re going to sag, somebody has to knock a shot down and Anna did that in the first half. She’s the one who kind of kept us out in front when we were struggling. She hit some timely buckets to keep us out in front.”
Massey scored eight points in the first quarter and added three more in the second as the Blue Devils built a 22-12 lead at the break.
Kuczmarski and Hallie Zumack took over the scoring in the second half. Kuczmarski finished with a team-high 12 points, with 10 coming in the second half, and Zumack finished with 11.
“They did a great job of pressing and backing up (Kuczmarski),” Marcinko said. “They sandwiched her on the inside and limited her touches. She earned her points. She didn’t get a lot of shot opportunities. They made it tough for us to get the ball inside so that limited her a little bit. Hallie kind of mixed and matched. You’d get a three here, a drive here, a free throw here, a layup here. She did a good job of trying to be an in between scorer.”
Defensively, the Blue Devils focused on limiting Fairport sharpshooter Morgan Ondo’s 3-point opportunities. She finished with a game-high 14 points.
“We were trying to keep her and little No. 4 to a minimum as far as chucking up threes,” Marcinko said. “It wasn’t a perfect effort by any means but for the most part they stuck to the game plan and tried to slow those two down. If they’re going to score it’s going to have to be everybody else to get it done. I thought we pressured them pretty well and boxed them out pretty well.”
With Sophie Piteo in foul trouble, Marcinko inserted freshman Amy Ksiazka into the lineup to guard Ondo.
“She did a tremendous job of making her life difficult,” Marcinko said. “Nothing came easy and she really worked her hard and got some steals and deflections. Defensively, she did a really good job.”
Jess Dmitruk finished with seven points and had some key rebounds and a big block late in the game.
Independence improved to 10-8 overall and 7-5 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division. The Blue Devils travel to Kirtland on Saturday.