Saturday, January 28, 2023

VASJ ends Kirtland’s season

It’s one thing to scout and prepare for a team like Villa Angela-St. Joseph.

It’s quite another thing to actually face the defending Division III state champions, particularly on the tile floor under the six title banners at Viking Village.

Kirtland played hard and was not intimidated, but too much speed, athleticism, pressure and heights proved to be far too much for the Hornets in an 86-55 loss to VASJ in a Division III sectional final on Feb. 26.

A fast-paced first quarter followed by a dominating 25-7 second quarter for the Vikings (18-5) was the beginning of the end for Kirtland, who finished the season at 15-9.

“You try to simulate certain things in practice to get ready to play a team like VASJ, but we don’t have a Jerry Higgins or a Sherman Dean to practice against. They have five athletes out on the floor at all times and they play very hard so that was tough for us to match up with,” Kirtland coach Nick Gallo said. “(VASJ coach) Babe (Kwasniak) does a great job of mixing things up and switching things on defense.

“This was a great opportunity to play a program like VASJ on their floor with all they have accomplished and we played them close to even in the second half. Our guys never quit, and I can not say enough about our seniors. We went to the sectional semis last year and the sectional championship game this year so hopefully we can keep building and grinding and getting better. This was a good experience for our guys.”

Gallo pointed out the contributions of Evan Madden, who scored six points in his final game in a Kirtland uniform. Palmer Capretta led the Hornets with 15. 

Kirtland hit 15 of 16 foul shots and knocked down eight 3s on the night. 

Freshman Alonzo Gaffney led all scorers with 18 points for the Vikings, who led by 26 at halftime and cruised to the victory. 

VASJ will play Warrensville Heights on March 1 in a D-III district semi at Garfield Heights.

VASJ 86, Kirtland 55

Kirtland (15-8): Capretta 15, Samsa 11, Lewis 8, Davis 7, Madden 6, Allchin 3, DiFabio 3, Gabor 2

VASJ (17-5): Gaffney 18, Dean 15, McGarry 10, Roberts 8, Butler 7, Stauffer 5, Turk 4, Porter 3, Newlon 3, Lawler 3, Higgins 3, George 3, Bessick 2, Koppleman 2

Kirtland 15 7 17 16
VASJ 23 25 19 19

Free Throws: Kirtland: 15 of 16, VASJ 6 of 11, 3- Pointers: Kirtland 8 ( Capretta 2, Lewis 2, Allchin 1, Davis 1, Samsa 1, DiFabio 1) VASJ 8 (Dean 3, Gaffney 2, Porter 1, Newlon 1, Lawler 1)
 

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.

Related Articles

Stay Connected

786FansLike
3,435FollowersFollow
364SubscribersSubscribe

Latest Articles

2023 CVC Wrestling Championships Semifinal Pairings

The 2023 Chagrin Valley Conference Wrestling Championships began at Perry High School on Friday night and will continue on Saturday with the semifinals.

CVC Athletes of the Week

Athletes from 12 different schools have been named the Chagrin Valley Conference Athletes of the Week.

Kirtland back in title hunt after win over Berkshire

Kirtland is back in the hunt for the CVC Valley Division title after beating previously undefeated Berkshire on Wednesday, 53-40.

Tigers lock up first conference title since 2015

With a 59-25 win at Orange on Wednesday, Chagrin Falls’ girls’ basketball team secured its first Chagrin Valley Conference title since 2015.

CVC swim championships claimed on Saturday

Chagrin Falls, Beachwood, Hawken, and Perry each claimed a Chagrin Valley Conference swimming and diving championship on Saturday at Beachwood High School.