CHAGRIN FALLS—Depth, size and a quick start helped Chagrin Falls post a dominant 62-25 nonconference win over visiting Wickliffe on Wednesday.
The Tigers jumped out to a 19-3 lead after the first quarter and increased that advantage to 32-9 at halftime as they won their third straight game heading into Saturday’s rematch with Chagrin Valley Conference Chagrin Division rival Orange, who won the first game on Dec. 5, 46-44.
“Saturday, It’s a chance for us to turn it around,” Chagrin Falls coach Brittany Anderson said. “When we played them last season, we lost the first round and we won the second round. We’re hoping to defend our home court and have this defensive intensity carry over into a very strong offensive team.”
Against Wickliffe, the Tigers successfully employed their game plan to beat Wickliffe’s 1-2-2 zone defense by moving the ball to open up the inside-outside game for Bella Dalessandro.
That worked well as Carolyn Bencko finished with a team-high 16 points and Dalessandro added 14.
The Tigers also excelled on the defensive end where they held Wickliffe to single-digit scoring in each of the four quarters.
“We said in the pregame that we wanted to make sure we were taking steps forward and we weren’t taking a step backward so we had all that extra work to do the next two days in practice,” Anderson said. “I think our first quarter tonight, with the way we executed defensively, was positive momentum going forward.”
The Tigers spread the wealth on offense as 10 different players scored at least two points in the win.
The Tigers also pulled down 34 rebounds with Lilly Karyo leading the way with eight. She also finished with six points.
Lydia Thombs added eight points, Lily Karyo finished with six, Julia Santamaria contributed with five, Avery Houston, Belle DiFranco and Kaitlin Burgess each scored three points and Molly Barr and Katie Kwasny both finished with two.
“They work hard day in and day out at practice and get their minutes here and there when they can,” Anderson said of her bench. “Tonight, it was great to see them go in and execute. Lydia Thombs had an outstanding game with the backside steals and the breakaway layups. We were able to get some of our swing players in from JV as well. It’s nice to see everything kind of come together and then work with the first or second group out there and get some good looks on offense.”
Stephanie Martin led Wickliffe with nine points.
“We don’t have many players and we have a tight bench, so we wanted to slow the game down and of course, (Anderson) wanted to speed it up, which she did, so we were down quick,” Wickliffe coach Anthony Wilson said. “We don’t have much size so we try to slow every game down and use that to our advantage.”
Wickliffe hopes to bounce back with a win at Valley Division rival Cardinal on Saturday.
“I tell them to keep fighting and keep playing and executing,” Wilson said of his message to his players. “The good thing about basketball is you have another game in two days so you can’t dwell on it too much.”
Chagrin Falls 62, Wickliffe 25
Wickliffe: Martin 9, Levon 5, Chase 5, Burkett 4, Zele 2
Chagrin Falls (12-3): Bencko 16, Dalessandro 14, Thombs 8, Karyo 6, Santamaria 5, Houston 3, Burgess 3, DiFranco 3, Kwasny 2, Barr 2
Wickliffe 3 6 7 9 — 25
Chagrin Falls 19 13 22 8 — 62
Free throws: Chagrin Falls 4 of 6, Wickliffe 4 of 7; 3-pointers: Chagrin Falls 8 (Dalessandro 4, Bencko 2, Houston 1, Burgess 1), Wickliffe 1 (Chase); Rebounds: Chagrin Falls 34 (Kwasny 8); Assists: Chagrin Falls 6 (Christie 2, Santamaria 2)