INDEPENDENCE—Kara DeSmith scored a game-high 10 points to lead Independence to a 33-32 win over visiting Kirtland on Saturday.
The Blue Devils led 23-12 at halftime and then held off the hard-charging Hornets in the fourth quarter.
“In a weird way, that’s the most complete game we played as far as intensity and passion on the defensive end,” said Independence coach Hugh McMahon. “We were battling for everything and I don’t think we gave them really anything easy, so that was a phenomenal effort as far as what we did on defense.”
DeSmith and Addie Walker both hit 3-pointers in the first quarter as the Blue Devils took an 8-4 lead, and DeSmith dominated in the second quarter with two more threes on the way to a 10-point quarter.
“Kara DeSmith had some great senior leadership, that’s the best senior leadership we’ve had all year, to keep us calm along with Paige Priebe and the whole team. They were really into it and by far, that was the best effort we’ve had on both ends of the court, so I’m really happy for our young leaders.”
Kirtland made its move in the third quarter.
Emily Ridgeway hit a key 3-pointer to spark a 7-0 run to end the quarter and the Hornets extended that run with the first jumper of the fourth quarter.
Ridgeway scored six of her team-high nine points in the fourth quarter but Independence came up with key stops down the stretch to seal its win.
“They were doing a little bit of a half-court trap and we attacked it and we just didn’t finish,” McMahon. “But, but I really loved how we attacked and were still aggressive, but we played smart.”
Priebe contributed to the win with eight points, Cat Rieger added five, Walker finished with three, Emily Gibbons scored two, and Casey Adams closed out Independence’s scoring with a point.
Kirtland’s early deficit proved too much to overcome even after outscoring the Blue Devils in the second half, 20-10.
“The girls did exactly what we asked him to do at halftime,” said Kirtland coach Matt Ridgeway. “They stretched it out in the third quarter but I didn’t feel like we were out of it. We were just turning the ball over and then once we started taking care of the ball a little bit more, and rewarding ourselves for the defense we were playing, we sort of put the ball in the basket a little bit more.”
Emily Ridgeway led the Hornets with nine points, Corinne Greenlee added seven, Julia Fleming and Marissa Carmosino both scored four, Natalie Glowe and Kristiana Katic both finished with two points, and Kennedy Boyd added one.
“We’ve played like 14 girls throughout the year, and we’ve been kind of mix and match,” Coach Ridgeway said. “We’re still figuring out who we are, and it’s been up and down, but every kid is ready to play and I’m just so proud of them. They’re all gritty and it’s an amazing group.”