Wildcats overcome slow start in win over Garfield Heights

Juls Consolo

Mayfield rallied back from a first quarter deficit to beat visiting Garfield Heights on Saturday, 56-43.

The Wildcats, who improved to 3-0, trailed after the first eight minutes, 13-11.

“The game was a little bit of a struggle for us, but we are glad with how we continued to deal with in-game adversity and worked together for the win,” Mayfield coach Ryan Looman said. “Credit to Garfield Heights and their coaching staff, we’ve been playing them since I’ve been here and this is by far and away the best they’ve been; you can really see the improvement.”

While Mayfield recovered from the slow start, the Wildcats never really hit their stride on offense.

“We struggled early on the offensive end, and to be honest, we never really were in sync throughout the game,” Looman said. “We talked before the game about having opportunities against this team and when they presented themselves we had to capitalize. We just didn’t do that enough. We tried to do too many things instead of taking what was right in front us and we didn’t shoot the ball like we did the first two games.”

Katelyn Kinczel led all scorers with 21 points and Catherine Rock contributed to the win with 14.

“They’ve been really good for us,” Kinczel said. “Katelyn has really taken over that alpha dog scorer’s mentality and when she’s clicking, 20 points a game should become a norm. Catherine just continues to get better. The game comes so naturally for her. Most importantly, when those two are on, we feel like they give us a shot every time we step on the court.”

Kinczel believes she and Rock create a formidable one-two punch for the Wildcats.

“We definitely feed off each other because I am able to open the floor for Catherine’s drives and she’s able to get me the ball inside for layups or outside for jump shots,” she said.

Juls Consolo pitched in with eight points and Juliana Nicolli scored seven. Hannah Peterson added four points and Payton O’Neal and Ashley Dearden both finished with one.

O’Neal pulled down nine of Mayfield’s 29 rebounds. Rock finished with seven.

“Rebounding was big for us in this game, especially in the second half,” Looman said. “Their post player really hurt us early with some rebounds and putbacks that we needed better box outs on. That being said, we’ve stressed the need to rebound as a team. It’s easy to expect our young post players to carry the load with their height and length, but we’ve had a different person lead us on rebounds each of the first three games so they’ve bought into that idea. It gives the ability to get out and run and limit the opposition, which has been key.”

The Wildcats limited the Bulldogs to just five points in the second quarter and seven in teh third as they began to pull away.

“Our mindset was to do a better job defensively,” Kinczel said. “We gave up more points in the first quarter than we wanted to, so we wanted to come out in the second quarter with a better defensive mentality.”

Mayfield opens Western Reserve Conference play at North on Wednesday.

Mayfield 56, Garfield Heights 43

Garfield Heights (1-2): Leonard 13, Saulters 11, Ghazy 3, Rollins 5, Hargrove 6, Warren 2, M. Warren 3,

Mayfield (3-0, 0-0): Kinczel 21, Rock 14, Consolo 8, Nicolli 7, Peterson 4, O’Neal 1, Dearden 1.

Garfield Heights 13 5 7 18 – 43
Mayfield 11 9 14 21 – 56

Free throws: Garfield 8/23 Mayfield 10/17; 3-pointers: Garfield 5 (Leonard 3) Mayfield: (Kinczel 3); Rebounds – Mayfield 29 (O’Neal 9, Rock 7), Steals: Mayfield 17 (Rock 5, Nicolli 5), Assists: Mayfield 8 (Rock 5)