Thursday, September 23, 2021

Toppers snap three-game skid

It’s hard to consider any December game a must-win, but after losing three straight the Chardon Hilltoppers were desperate for a victory.

Sydney Feller knocked down four first half 3-pointers on the way to a game-high 12 points to lead the Hilltoppers to a 57-31 win at Harvey that snapped a three-game skid and helped Chardon improve to 3-6 on the year.

“We moved the ball a little bit better and executed better and our passes were a little bit crisper than they’ve been,” said Chardon coach Cullen Harris. “We always say the first step to a made shot is a good pass. Some of those passes we’ve been kicking out to shooters have been a little bit low and they couldn’t quite catch them clean, but today we were a little bit more focused on the details that we have to have to be successful.”

Chardon’s struggles in the first eight games started on offense.

The dangerous Hilltoppers were getting good looks at the basket but often failed to finish. That led to some second-guessing and overthinking the process.

“I don’t know if there was pressure but they were definitely thinking about it and when you’re a shooter and you’re thinking about it, that’s never good,” Harris said. “We constantly remind them and we had a meeting and said, ‘In basketball, sometimes things don’t go your way and that’s OK. You could do everything right and the shot doesn’t go in and you could do everything wrong and sometimes the shot will go in. You have to keep shooting with confidence.’ We’ll never pull a kid for taking a shot so they need to keep shooting with confidence, keep believing in one another and eventually things will go our way. Hopefully we’re turning a corner here.”

Feller hit three 3s in the first quarter to help Chardon build a 23-14 lead.

She added another in the second quarter and sat out the fourth after the Toppers had pulled away from the Red Raiders.

Tori Butala hit three 3-pointers in finishing with nine points for the Hilltoppers, who drained nine 3s on the night.

“I just shot it with confidence and let it fly,” Feller said. “As a shooter, making shots helps us as a team. Once my shots were falling, we had people off the bench making shots and Tori hit some open looks as well.”

Clara Lundblad and Danni McCartney both contributed with seven points and Faith DiLillo finished with six for Chardon.

The Hilltoppers travel to Canfield on Saturday with a bit more confidence now that the losing streak is behind them.

“(The win) was very important for us,” Feller said. “It helped our confidence and those losses have made us lose our confidence so this was a big win for us.”

Chardon 57, Harvey 31

Chardon (3-6): Feller 12, Butala 9, Lundblad 7, McCartney 7, DiLillo 6, Landies 5, Pastor 3, Bradley 3, Nichols 3, Steffen 2

Harvey (2-4): Melton 12, Hach 7, Bowler 4, Grimes 3, Axson 3, Abdul 2

Chardon 23 14 10 10 — 57
Harvey 14 8 3 6 — 31

Free throws: Chardon 4 of 10, Harvey 4 of 12; 3-pointers: Chardon 9 (Feller 4), Harvey 1 (Melton); Rebounds: Chardon 48, Harvey 26

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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