Wednesday, May 18

    Independence rallies for win at Lutheran West

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    Independence rallied in the fourth quarter for a 40-34 Chagrin Valley Conference Metro Division win at Lutheran West on Tuesday.

    The Blue Devils, who improved to 5-1 overall and 3-1 in league play, outscored the Longhorns in the final eight minutes, 15-7.

    “This one falls under the category of a road win is a good win,” said Independence coach Mike Marcinko. “They’re a solid team and they work hard and (Evelyn) Albers is tough to deal with. We had to deal with the fact that (Addie) Westerburg is out and that’s just kind of the way it is. Nobody cares, you still have to lace them up and play.”

    Lutheran West led after the first quarter, 11-8, but the Blue Devils pulled ahead at halftime, 17-16.

    “I thought we battled,” Marcinko said. “We didn’t play our best basketball at times but Lutheran West had a lot to do with that. As far as our effort and energy, I thought we battled to get our feet under us and we defended well and hit some free throws down the stretch to get it into the fourth quarter. We did what we had to do to win a ballgame.”

    The Longhorns took a 27-25 lead into the final eight minutes.

    Anna Weber scored five of her 14 in the fourth quarter and Natalie George added two of her game-high 15 to help the Blue Devils hold off the Longhorns down the stretch.

    Foul trouble plagued the Blue Devils throughout the game, but Independence found a way to win.

    “The win is extremely rewarding,” George said. “It’s awesome knowing that we have enough grit to stay in a tough game like that. Our team has really gotten it together, despite injuries, to pull some tough wins out. Those fouls took out some of our players for a good amount of time and I knew it was on me to keep us alive. I came out with a lot of bumps and bruises, but the win is a great reward.”

    Alex Adams contributed to the win with five points, Kara DeSmith added three, and Cat Rieger scored two points.

    George engineered the offense and played aggressively on the defensive end of the floor. She finished the game with the aforementioned bumps and bruises, but she also chipped a tooth during the game.

    “I know that I have to do something on both ends of the floor or else we might find ourselves in tough situations,” she said. “For the past two years, I’ve played very scared and I finally realized I need to step up and take my place. I use my speed to drive gaps and get cheap layups because I’m not a lights-out shooter like Anna. I use what I’ve got and pay little attention to if I get beaten or bruised in the process. I’m just hoping for a bucket or foul shots to help propel my team to a win.”

    Albers and Ella McCarty both scored 10 points for the Longhorns. Arryon Esposito finished with seven and Makayla Spelich scored six points.

    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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