Career nights lead Independence past Cardinal

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Riley Wilson

Riley Wilson scored a career-high 25 points and Riccela DiGeronimo added a career-best 19 to lead Independence to a 63-42 win over visiting Cardinal on Wednesday.

The win was the third straight for the Blue Devils, who improved to 13-7 overall and 9-5 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division.

“I can’t complain about winning by 20 but we had our moments where it was like pulling teeth,” said Independence coach Mike Marcinko. “It could have been more efficient and cleaner but we’re nitpicking. I thought we played good complete games the last two where this one was looser and we had to work harder, but again, I can’t complain. We got a nice win against a quality league opponent.”

Wilson scored just two points in the first quarter as Independence built a 17-11 lead.

She scored seven in both the second and third quarters and finished with nine in the final eight minutes to achieve her goal of beating her mother Kelly’s career-high of 19 points in a single game during her time as a Blue Devil.

“That was a nice side note for the game,” Marcinko said of Wilson’s accomplishment. “She continued what she did the last few games as far as attacking the basket with more authority. She is bulling her way to the rim and scoring and getting fouled. The last three or four games, she has really attacked the rim hard and finished and picked up some and-ones and that continued.”

DiGeronimo scored 13 of her 19 in the first half.

“Riccela continues to develop into the player I think she can be,” Marcinko said. “We’ve been working hard on pull-up jumpers. She’s been adding it and it came through. There were a few that she beat people off the dribble and pulled up and scored.”

Kaitlin Richards added eight points for the Blue Devils and Haylee Dmitruk pitched in with six.

Cardinal used a 21-point third quarter to pull to within 10 of the Blue Devils but just couldn’t get any closer in the fourth quarter.

“We had a tough time keeping up with Independence tonight in the scoring column, but I was proud of the effort to make two runs at them in the second half to get the gap under 10,” said Cardinal coach Luke Kruse. “Unfortunately, we were in a position where we were down more than we wanted after a shaky first half and had to press. We knew that with their speed they can put points on the board in a hurry if they get through the pressure and that’s exactly what happened. We had a hard time getting stops tonight, especially on Wilson and DiGeronimo. Those girls played lights out.”

Ashley Gubanyar led the Huskies with 18 points and Brittni Lawrence contributed with 10.

Gubanyar tied the school record with five 3-pointers in a single game.

“Ashley caught fire in the third quarter and hit four straight 3-pointers in a few minute spurt,” Kruse said. “I’m proud of her efforts and putting her name up there with some of the best girls in the program’s history. She’s a great kid and I hope that builds her confidence going into tournament play.”

Camille Cummins pulled down 15 rebounds for the Huskies, who closed out the regular season with an 11-11 record.

Independence closes out the regular season at home against Lincoln West on Saturday.

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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.