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    Blue Devils clutch at free throw line in 70-66 win over Fairport


    Daniel Mathews scored a game-high 28 points and Independence was 17-of-21 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter in a 70-66 win over Fairport Harding on Friday.

    Independence held a 41-35 lead entering the final quarter and every time the Blue Devils would pull away the Skippers would hit a 3-pointer to get back into the game.

    “I think again it was a solid effort for the entire game,” said Independence head coach Hugh McMahon. “That’s two games in a row that we were able to give that effort. We were able to withstand a big run by them in the fourth quarter. They hit their last four 3-pointers to keep it close and forced us to hit our free throws down the stretch.”

    Mathews was 6-for-6 from the line in the fourth quarter while Kyle Stefanski was 6-for-9, Nick Brunsman was 3-for-4 and Mario Figliola was 2-for-2.

    “That just shows an awful lot of maturity just in a week’s time,” McMahon said. “We didn’t hit our free throws down the stretch against Cardinal and let one get away from us by three points. This time we were able to respond to the pressure and put the game away.”

    Stefanski finished the game with 14 points and Brunsman and Figliola both scored 10 to give Independence four players in double figures.

    “I thought it was balanced really well with four double-digit scorers,” McMahon said. “I liked how we shared the ball. We also had the return of Ryan Dworznik and Matt Terrano from injury. Although a little rusty, they gave a great effort.”

    Dworznik scored four points and Terrano contributed with two.

    McMahon was also pleased with the defensive play of freshman Jacob Allen, who finished with two points and five rebounds.

    The Blue Devils return to action on Tuesday when they host Kirtland. They’ll play a second league game next week on Friday at Hawken.

    “I’m very happy with how we’ve matured and come together as a team,” McMahon said. “We are playing our best basketball at this time but there’s always room for hard work and improvement.”

    Steve Harehttps://www.ohiovarsity.com
    The creator and publisher of OhioVarsity.com, 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 IrishIllustrated.com, a member of the Scout.com network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. OhioVarsity.com was created in 2004 and was a member of the Rivals.com 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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