If Chardon was looking ahead to a potential rematch with Mentor it didn’t show as the Hilltoppers cruised to a 59-24 win over visiting Madison in a Division I sectional semifinal on Saturday.
Chardon travels to Mentor for the sectional title on Thursday. The Cardinals edged the Hilltoppers in overtime back on Feb. 5, 63-62.
“Our goal wasn’t just to beat Madison,” said Chardon coach Cullen Harris. “Our goal is to beat Madison and then have an opportunity to play Mentor and then have an opportunity to play North and see what happens. We took one step in that direction today, which I’m excited about.”
The Hilltoppers, who improved to 13-10 overall, jumped on the Blue Streaks early and led 17-4 after the first quarter and 35-8 at halftime.
Halle Landies scored 10 of her game-high 15 in the first half while Grace Bradley contributed with six of her nine in the first 16 minutes of play. Faith DiLillo scored all six of her points in the first quarter to help Chardon build momentum.
“We looked at our depth and they were dealing with some injuries and they don’t have the numbers we have right now so we figured if we could run and push in transition it will go in our favor and that’s kind of what we did well,” Harris said. “We came out with energy and effort. We told the kids our expectation was to come out and play hard for 32 minutes. We always tell our kids we play against the best version of ourselves. We don’t play against the opponent.”
Chardon’s defense was even more impressive as it limited the Blue Streaks to just eight first half points and held Madison standout Shyenne Ledford to just six points.
“We executed defensively,” Harris said. “We had a little stretch in the third quarter where we let them get some second and third opportunities but for the most part, we executed our game plan in terms of doubling down on Ledford and making someone else beat you. When you hold a team to eight points in a half, that’s a pretty good accomplishment. It was a collective effort.”
Danni McCartney also scored in double figures for Chardon as she finished with 11. Brannigan Cramb led Madison with nine points.
The Hilltoppers head into Thursday’s rematch with Mentor riding a three-game winning streak and playing with a lot of confidence.
“I think we’re playing our best basketball at this point in the year,” Harris said. “I said all year, hopefully, we’re a team that’s peaking at the right time. We have a chance to get to Perry (District Tournament) and if we get there, we’re the underdog and we’re not supposed to win anyway.”
Chardon 59, Madison 24
Madison: Cramb 9, Ledford 6, Hathaway 4, Fedele 2, Wakin 2, Guyer 1
Chardon (13-10, 8-6 WRC): Landies 15, McCartney 11, Bradley 9, DiLillo 6, Butala 5, Feller 5, Pastor 3, Lundblad 3, Nichols 2
Madison 4 4 11 5 24
Chardon 17 18 9 15 59
Field Goals: Chardon 22/61, Madison 8/39. FTs Chardon 11/19, Madison 7/15. Rebounds: Chardon 33, Madison 36. Threes: Chardon 4 (Landies 2, Feller, Butala), Madison 1 (Cramb)