Independence downs visiting Berkshire

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Riley Wilson scored a game-high 16 points and Haylee Dmitruk and Kaitlin Richards both contributed with 10 to lead Independence to a 46-39 win over visiting Berkshire on Wednesday.

The Blue Devils used a 12-6 second quarter to pull ahead of the Badgers and maintained that lead throughout the second half.

“I thought we played much more like we want to play,” said Independence coach Mike Marcinko. “We still had some moments where you scratch your head but we had far more moments where we executed well and did some good things. We hit free throws and had some good defensive possessions.”

Richards was particularly effective in the paint.

“We had a good post presence with Kaitlin Richards,” Marcinko said. “She had five buckets and spread them out throughout the game. She got some rebounds and a couple blocks. It was a nice and welcomed effort from Kaitlyn giving us a post presence, especially against Berkshire because their bigs are really good.”

Wilson also shined on the defensive end and Hanah Walker did her part on the defensive end to keep Berkshire from mounting a comeback.

“Riley threw in 16 but she got some blocks and deflections,” Marcinko said. “Hanah defended really well and got some key rebounds late in the game.”

Amy Ksiazka finished with just two points but she harassed Berkshire’s ball handlers in the second half to keep the Badgers from settling into their offense.

“She was disrupting them and was a pain in their backside,” Marcinko said. “She had some solo pressure where she was the only one picking up full court and we had her off and on locked on to their ball handlers and then backed off. We mixed and matched where she came from. She didn’t score much but she helped kick-start some stuff at the end of the third quarter and into the fourth.”

Riccela DiGeronimo and Erica Esper both finished with three points and Madison Stepanik added a bucket.

“Our goal is to have four people in double figures,” Marcinko said. “That’s the goal but it doesn’t always work out that way. We had three in double figures and seven contributing, so we spread it around and people made plays at different times. It was a well-rounded effort from everybody involved. This was a step in the right direction as we prepare for tournament play.”

The Blue Devils, who improved to 11-7 overall and 7-5 in the Chagrin Valley Conference, host Cuyahoga Heights 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.