Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Stefanski leads Independence to win at Fairport

After stunning rival Cuyahoga Heights on Friday the Independence Blue Devils returned to action on Tuesday at Fairport Harding.

The Blue Devils got off to a slow start but rallied in the second half to pull away from the Skippers for a 62-40 win.

“I kind of expected us to start a little slow after our big win against the archrival,” said Independence coach Hugh McMahon. “The guys were fired up but we just had to refocus that energy a little bit. To their credit they did a phenomenal job in the second half outscoring them, 42-23.”

Kyle Stefanski led the way as he scored 19 of his game-high 25 points in the final 16 minutes.

“We started off very slow,” Stefanski said. “Coach got through to us at halftime and we stepped up for him. He told us we just weren't listening. The entire first half we ran our press wrong and he wasn't too happy with that. He said the talent is there, but the effort isn't.”

Independence changed up some things scheme-wise to adjust to Fairport’s offensive looks. The Blue Devils also kicked up their intensity in the second half.

“It was a little bit of both,” McMahon said. “Mentally, I think we had to get back to what we know. We have to play very, very hard for us to be successful and really just keep it as simple as possible making sure we’re executing the fundamentals of the game. On the other hand, there were a couple scheme things we had to adjust to their press offense that we gave up a couple layups off of. We adjusted that and I don’t think we gave up any easy baskets in the second half because of that.”

Stefanski hit five 3-pointers in the second half, which opened up the inside for Mario Figliola, who finished with 19 points.

“That’s the best that we have executed some of our sets,” McMahon said. “(Stefanski) got some open shots and he didn’t hesitate. He looked for it and nailed five threes in the second half. Mario was consistent throughout. That’s two games in a row where he stayed out of any real foul trouble. He scored at least four points in each quarter, so that’s big for us to get that consistent scoring inside and then with Kyle from the outside things really clicked in the second half.”

Nick Brunsman pitched in with eight points for the Blue Devils while Brian Roddy scored four and Ryan Dworznik, Stefan Wygonski and Akeel Patel all had two.

Independence improved to 6-14 overall and 5-9 in the Chagrin Valley Conference. The Blue Devils end the regular season at home against Trinity on Tuesday.
 

Steve Harehttp://www.ohiovarsity.com
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes OhioVarsity.com, 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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