GATES MILLS—Kirtland used a 10-0 second-half run to pull away from host Hawken in a 42-38 win on Saturday in the season opener for both teams.
The Hawks led at halftime, 24-21, before the Hornets went on their run to open the third quarter.
“I am proud of the girls for how they responded to the ups and downs of our game,” said Kirtland coach Brittany Zele. “They have been practicing so hard and for them to get the chance to finally compete and come out on top feels great.”
Kirtland made some necessary adjustments at halftime and came out dominating on both ends of the court.
The Hornets hit back-to-back 3-pointers to spark their 10-0 run and held Hawken scoreless for the first six minutes of the second half.
“Before the second half began, I told the girls our goal was to win the third quarter and they did just that,” Zele said. “We had back-to-back baskets with a couple steals that kept our momentum up.”
Kirtland outscored Hawken in the third, 15-4, but the Hawks made their run in the fourth quarter.
Carmen Courtad drained a 3-pointer with 45 seconds left to pull the Hawks to within 40-35 and Makayla White hit a free throw and then pulled down an offensive rebound and scored to cut Kirtland’s lead to 40-38.
The Hawks had a chance to tie it but the Hornets forced a turnover and Reilly Greenlee hit a pair of free throws in the closing seconds to seal it.
“In the end, our defense will always be the reason we pull out a close win,” Zele said. “Hawken had a few good shots at the end that didn’t fall and we were able to get the ball, which forced them to foul. It feels good to beat a tough Hawken squad. It’s something we will always look back at.”
Greenlee tied White with a game-high 18 points. She finished the game 3-for-3 from behind the arc.
Amalie Gettig scored six points off a pair of 3-pointers, Corinne Greenlee and Macy McIntosh both contributed to the win with five points and Haley Coso added four. Leah LaVerde and Marissa Carmosino both scored two points for the Hornets.
LaVerde and McIntosh caused all sorts of problems for the Hawks’ offense and Coso pulled down a team-high seven rebounds.
“Reilly came out on fire tonight on both ends, leading with 18 points,” Zele said. “Leah and Macy led on defense with five steals each and was able to disrupt Hawken’s offense. Haley led rebounding with seven and had two crucial blocks where if she hadn’t, the game may have ended differently. Amalie made her starting varsity debut by hitting two 3s at the right time to give us momentum. Corinne and Marissa entered the game for the first time as full-time varsity players. They are both going to be key for us in our continued success.”
White fueled Hawken’s offensive attack and proved tough for the Hornets to handle.
“It’s impossible to really capture what Makayla means to our team,” said Hawken coach David Murray. “She’s the type of player for whom the scorebook doesn’t reflect everything she does on the court. She’s put in a tremendous amount of work to make herself a more complete player and it really showed tonight.”
Courtad finished with six points and Julian Pollard and Kate Bollinger each finished with six for the Hawks, who rallied back during several points in the game.
“I was extremely proud of the resiliency that our girls showed,” Murray said. “This was our first time competing against another school since February, so I knew it was going to be sloppy. To our players’ credit, they went out and fought for 32 minutes and put themselves in a position to win against a tough Kirtland team.”