MIDDLEFIELD—Kirtland forced 29 turnovers and converted many of those into points as the Hornets downed host Cardinal in a Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division showdown on Saturday, 64-39.
“Our defense put us in position to win because I didn’t think our offense was clicking very well,” said Kirtland coach Bob Bell. “I thought we missed a lot of good looks and that’s going to happen, so our defense has to carry us and that’s what we tried to impress on the girls. If we can play good defense, eventually we’re going to get a few shots to fall and we can start building the lead a little bit and that’s what we did in the second half.”
The Hornets, who improved to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the CVC play, led 31-18 at halftime and never let Cardinal get things going on the offensive end.
Sydney Snyder led all scorers with 24 points while Julia Camino came off the bench to score 15 for the Hornets. Lauren Snyder added eight, Katie McCollister and Lauren Lutz both finished with five and Amber Yurick contributed with four for Kirtland.
“Julia played great. She played great defense, had a number of steals, shot the ball well; she made a huge difference for us,” Bell said. “I thought Amber Yurick played very well for us off the bench as well and Riley McCrory. Katie did a great job of leading our team out there and Syd had a nice game. Jenna Sayle and Lauren Lutz and Lauren Snyder all played really well. I’m pretty pleased with them.”
The Huskies, who dropped to 6-2, 1-1, had trouble beating Kirtland’s pressure defense.
“We knew going in if we lob pass over the top of the trap we might as well put two points on the scoreboard because they finish in transition very well,” said Cardinal coach Luke Kruse. “That happened more than it could happen if we were going to stay in the game.”
Camille Cummins led the Huskies with 13 points and nine rebounds, just one shy of finishing with her eighth straight double-double.
Ashley Gubanyar contributed with eight points, Annamarie Pollack finished with six and Hanna Traggiai, Adriana Naples and Brittni Lawrence all pitched in with four.
“I thought our girls played well in spurts but they can’t play well in spurts against the Kirtland Hornets because they play for 32 minutes hard and made great defensive stops and passed the ball,” Kruse said. “You can’t try and keep up with Kirtland. You have to try to stop them and slow them down. Unfortunately, they got to dictate the pace of the game and the style of the game; that’s why they came out on top.”
Cardinal is off to its best start in several years and Kruse is eager to see how much the Huskies can improve before the two teams meet again at Kirtland on Jan. 27.
“We look forward to the challenge of playing Kirtland again in a few weeks and see if we can give them our best game,” Kruse said. “We’ll study the film and try to fix up some mistakes. These girls in our locker room are ready and capable of rising to the occasion.”
Kirtland 64, Cardinal 39
Cardinal (6-2): Cummins 13, Traggiai 4, Gubanyar 8, Pollack 6, Naples 4, Lawrence 4
Kirtland (6-0): S. Snyder 24, McCollister 5, L. Snyder 8, Sayle 3, Lutz 5, Camino 15, Yurick 4
Kirtland 17 14 12 21 — 64
Cardinal 6 12 6 15 — 39
3-pointers: Cardinal 2 (Gubanyar 2), Kirtland 2 (S. Snyder 2)