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    Independence cruises to win at Oberlin

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    Independence used a balanced offense and stifling defense in cruising to a 73-32 nonconference win at Oberlin on Tuesday.

    Sam Crooks scored a game-high 21 points to lead a group of eight different Blue Devils who notched at least one point in the win.

    “We challenged them to play hard for 32 minutes,” said Independence coach Marc Holliday. “That’s been our biggest Achilles heel, is putting it together for 32 minutes, and today was the first night we did that. We were sharing the ball, and everybody got involved and did their job.”

    Independence got after it from the opening tip.

    Landon Jatsek and Rocco Ressler each scored six points in the first quarter on their way to a 14 and 12-point night, respectively.

    Crooks added six in the second quarter and nine more in the third as the Blue Devils put the game away early.

    Independence led 41-16 at the break and 59-30 heading into the fourth quarter, when the Blue Devils outscored Oberling, 14-2.

    Noah Terrano contributed to the win with nine points, Matty Jirmasek and Joey Jirmasek finished with six and five points, respectively, Anderson Jolliffe added four, and Stephen Mlynarczyk posted two points.

    Last winter, Independence’s young roster took its lumps but with that valuable experience, the Blue Devils are settling in and their veterans are leading the way for the younger players, who are making their mark.

    “Between Joey and Landon being our two senior leaders, and not having any seniors last year, it’s been difficult but this year we have that, and it makes a big difference,” Holliday said. “Matty is a sophomore playing really good ball and Anderson Jolliffe is a freshman who has been in the rotation and doing a really good job because the other guys are helping them out.”

    The Blue Devils, who improved to 10-11 on the year, have a 10-day layoff before closing out the regular season on Feb. 23 against Westlake.

    Independence opens the postseason at Brooklyn on Feb. 27 in a game that the Blue Devils can use to avenge two regular-season losses to the Hurricanes.

    Those two losses were by a combined eight points.

     

    Steve Hare
    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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