Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Samsa shines in Kirtland’s win at Hawken

Kirtland closed out a tough week with a 46-41 Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division win at Hawken on Thursday.

The win snapped a two-game skid that included losses at Richmond Heights and to Garrettsville Garfield at Quicken Loans Arena.

“It's been a long week, playing back to back, and we went over to the Q,” said Kirtland coach Nick Gallo. “We couldn't throw it in the ocean over there that night so it was good to come back against a good Hawken team and get a win. It's hard to play there.”

Brandon Samsa led the Hornets on both ends of the court. He finished with a game-high 15 points and also helped lock down Hawken’s top shooters.

“It all starts right now with Brandon Samsa,” Gallo said. “He's playing really well. We're asking him to do so much for us on both ends of the floor. What he's doing is pretty cool.”

Hawken’s Hugh Brown and Brendan Paul were limited to a total of 16 points.

“We played a really good defensive game tonight,” Gallo said. “To hold Brown and Paul, their two leading scorers, to 16 points total was a pretty good defensive effort. Holding (Hawken) to five points in the second quarter was solid. We only scored eight, but we were just really good at running guys off the line. We played good, solid team defense and threw in some different things and showed them some different looks.”

Palmer Capretta and Jeremy Davis both contributed with seven points in the win and Matt Brekalo pitched in with eight.

Brekalo also hit four free throws in the fourth quarter to help the Hornets hold off the Hawks.

“He was 4-for-4 from the line in the fourth quarter and both times at the line were huge,” Gallo said. “Big minutes for him tonight. I was happy for him. He was grabbing some rebounds, rolling hard off the pick and roll and doing the things we asked him to do.”

As a team, Kirtland was just 16 of 34 from the free throw line.

“We're going to spend a lot of time in the gym shooting free throws,” Gallo said. “We were 7 of 19 the other night. We had the chance to put some points on the board in the second half but we just weren't focused. We've got to get a little bit more focused at the free throw line.”

Kirtland improved to 3-2 overall and 3-1 in the CVC while Hawken dropped to 5-2, 3-1.

Kirtland 46, Hawken 41

Kirtland (3-2, 3-1 CVC): D. Capretta 1, P. Capretta 7, Davis 7, Samsa 15, Fulco 3, Brekolo 8, Cosgrove 3, Brady 2

Hawken (5-2, 3-1 CVC): Kates 2, Brown 7, Paul 9, Jones 5, Ehebar 3, Faxon 7, Clark 3, Snyder 5

Kirtland 16 8 8 14 — 46
Hawken 12 5 9 15 — 41

Field goals: Kirtland 9, Hawken 11; Free throws: Kirtland 16 of 34, Hawken 4 of 13; 3-pointers: Kirtland 4 (Samsa 2, Davis 1, Cosgrove), Hawken 5 (Paul 1, Jones 1, Ehebar 1, Clark 1, Snyder 1); JV: Hawken 51-41



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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