Friday, December 1, 2023

Mueller, McGill pace Hornets in win over Geneva

KIRTLAND—Adam Mueller scored 15 points and Seann McGill added 14 to lead Kirtland to a 57-53 nonconference win over visiting Geneva on Saturday.

The win was the second in as many nights for the Hornets, who improved to 6-0 on the year.

“Our kids played really hard,” Kirtland coach Shawn McGregor said. “Any time there’s a back-to-back situation, it always has different challenges every game you play. Last night, we started slow and then we exploded in the second half and tonight it was the same. We played really great defense to hold Geneva to hold them to the points we did with as much offensive firepower as they had and when we needed to get stops late in the game we got those stops.”

Mueller scored nine first-quarter points to help the Hornets jump out to a 16-10 lead. He added four more in the second as Kirtland took a 29-21 lead into the locker room.

McGill took the baton in the second half as he scored eight points and controlled the paint on both ends of the court.

“Seann and Adam did a great job,” McGregor said. “The first thing we talked about after the game is that it’s always a different guy every night who is going to come out and make game-winning plays. Sometimes that’s an offensive rebound or whatever it might be, loose balls or handling the ball. We have 10 really, really good seniors and some junior pieces that are really contributing. When you go 12 deep and can throw different combos at teams, that makes us a real dangerous team. I was excited by how we played and how we’re progressing.”

Behind Nick Stoltz, who finished with a game-high 21 points, Geneva made a run at the Hornets in the second half.

Stoltz scored 10 points in the third quarter as the Eagles pulled to within 44-38.

“Nick just goes hard,” Geneva coach Eric Bowser said. “He passes the ball too and he finds the open guys when the opportunities are there.”

The Eagles outscored the Hornets in the third quarter, 17-13, but Kirtland withstood that run and made key plays down the stretch to win the game.

Kirtland converted eight free throws in the fourth quarter and prevented the Eagles from making another run.

“We didn’t perform and execute on the offensive end as well as we would have liked to but we got points when we needed to and we knocked free throws down,” McGregor said. “Most importantly, we’re going to be one of those defensive teams that play a lot of guys. We’re going to try to get to the other team’s legs and we’re doing a good job of that. Only being a month into basketball, I feel our kids are starting to adapt to the things we’re doing and getting ready to play.”

Tommy Powers contributed to the win with seven points, Domenic Capretta pitched in with five and Dawson Cosgrove added four. Zach Samsa and Jack Bailey finished with three and two points, respectively.

“We’re excited with the 6-0 start,” McGregor said. “That’s always good but we have a big one coming up against Richmond Heights on Tuesday. Hopefully, we come ready to play.”

Grant Mihalick also scored in double figures for Geneva as he finished with 17 points on three 3-pointers and Brandon Smith and Dawson Schafer both finished with six for the Eagles.

“I’m proud of the guys,” Bowser said. “We’re small but they work so hard. The reality of the situation is we shot 19-for-62. It’s going to be tough to win games when you shoot that way. Normally, we shoot the ball pretty well but give them some credit. Defensively, they got up into us and tried to play hard.”

Kirtland 57, Geneva 53

Geneva (4-5, 2-3 CVC): Schafer 6, Peet 2, Stoltz 21, Varckette 1, Mihalick 17, Smith 6

Kirtland (6-0, 4-0 CVC): Capretta 5, Mueller 15, Cosgrove 4, Powers 7, Samsa 3, Camino 7, McGill 14, Bailey 2

Geneva 10 11 17 15 — 53
Kirtland 16 13 13 15 — 57

Free throws: Geneva 10 of 15, Kirtland 15 of 27; 3-pointers: Geneva 5 (Mihalick 3, Stoltz 2), Kirtland 2 (Cosgrove 1, Camino 1)

Steve Hare
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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