Wednesday, May 18

    Blue Devils answer the bell in win over Mustangs

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    INDEPENDENCE—An early run set the tone as Independence corralled the visiting Grand Valley Mustangs in a Chagrin Valley Conference crossover game on Saturday, 52-34.

    The Blue Devils scored the first 14 points of the game.

    “It was an odd start time, more of a brunch tip, and they had to get up early and travel and we were out of our normal routine, so we were on them about their intensity and approach,” said Independence coach Mike Marcinko. “I thought they answered the bell.”

    Natalie George found early success driving the lane as she scored on a pair of easy layups and added a free throw. Addie Walker, Alex Adams, and Anna Weber all drained 3-pointers in the first quarter as the Blue Devils jumped out to a 19-6 lead.

    Independence then converted on 7-of-8 free throws and Kara DeSmith scored from long range in the second quarter to push the lead to 31-14 at the break.

    “After two possessions, we adjusted the way we worked our press and they adjusted on the fly,” Marcinko said. “We didn’t need to call a timeout, they just took things away and all of a sudden, Natalie got a couple of turnovers because they had to stutter because we took some things away. I thought it was a great job in the opening three or four minutes and the first half, really, of high-intensity basketball.”

    The Blue Devils continued to control the game in the second half as they outscored the Mustangs in the third quarter, 13-4.

    Weber led the Blue Devils with a game-high 16 points while Walker and George finished with eight and seven points, respectively. DeSmith pitched in with six, Cat Rieger added five, and Casey Adams and Alex Adams both scored three. Ashley Adams and Paige Priebe both finished with two points.

    “That’s huge,” Marcinko said of the scoring depth. “We talked about that way back in October when we first got started because we knew Anna would have pressure on her to get to 15 points a game but if we’re going to hit 40 to 45 points a night then everyone else has got to pitch in with five or six or 10 points, whatever it’s going to be. To have girls step up like that and knock shots down and to create free throws and get to the rim, it’s a team sport and we need everybody.”

    Courtney Hivick led Grand Valley with nine points, Carly James added eight, Morgan Crawford posted seven points, Kaelyn Hart scored six, and Dixie Miller finished with four.

    Steve Hare
    The creator and publisher of, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for, a member of the network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. was created in 2004 and was a member of the network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. 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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