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    Independence cruises to eighth win


    Independence’s offense was clicking early and its defense was stingy as ever in a 68-35 win over visiting Richmond Heights on Saturday.

    The Blue Devils held the Spartans to just two first-quarter points as they built a double-digit lead and never slowed down.

    “We were really were spot on today with our pace, intensity, and execution,” said Independence coach Mike Marcinko. “I’m really pleased with how we played as a team.”

    Down one key starter, the Blue Devils were forced to share the basketball and each player rose to the challenge as 11 of the 12 who saw action scored in the game.

    Anna Weber led the Blue Devils with 15 points and Madison Stepanik also scored in double figures with 12. Addie Westerburg contributed with nine and Kara DeSmith finished with seven.

    Natalie George scored five points and also was on point distributing the ball.

    “As a team, we did a great job of creating opportunities for one another and getting open looks,” Stepanik said. “Anna and Natalie did a great job of moving the ball around and creating for us. Everyone knows their role. It’s a matter of individually, we all need to go that extra step and contribute more than we usually do.”

    Independence led 38-13 at halftime.

    Stepanik scored 10 of her 12 in the first half and the Blue Devils’ bench finished off the game strong in the fourth quarter.

    “Going up strong and confident was working for me,” Stepanik said. “I know what my teammates and coach expect from me to help us get the win.”

    The Blue Devils, who improved to 8-3, host Lutheran West on Wednesday.

    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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