Wednesday, July 24

    Independence rolls over Wickliffe on Senior Night

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    Inspired by Senior Night, Independence got off to a hot start and never slowed down in a 71-27 win over visiting Wickliffe on Tuesday.

    The Blue Devils had three players score in double figures and limited Wickliffe to just seven second-half points.

    “It was a lot of fun,” said Independence coach Marc Holliday. “It was nice because the ball was moving, bodies were moving, and we were really playing for one another and embracing our Mudita slogan that we keep talking about, which is taking true joy in the success of others.”

    Senior Landon Jatsek helped the Blue Devils establish early control as he scored six of his 18 in the first quarter.

    “It was great to see the entire team getting into the game,” Jatsek said. “The energy the team brought is what propelled us to the domination we had throughout all 32 minutes. One of the things our team strives for is Mudita, which is celebrating other’s success. That really showed tonight.”

    Jatsek and Matty Jirmasek each scored six points in the second quarter as Independence took a 31-20 lead into the break.

    “Being able to run our offense and get looks from the perimeter helps open up other options tremendously,” Jatsek said of Independence’s offensive success. “Hitting the three ball causes the defense to space out more giving those open looks down under. Coach preaches taking a great shot instead of a good shot. When we are able to score from all spots on the floor it becomes much easier to achieve that.”

    Sam Crooks took it from there as he scored eight of his game-high 19 in the third quarter and finished with five in the fourth.

    Jirmasek also scored in double figures with 16 points, Noah Terrano drained three 3-pointers to finish with nine, Rocco Ressler contributed with four points, Anderson Jolliffe and Liam Rienerth both dropped in two, and Jack Korinek scored one point.

    “The epitome of the game was in the fourth quarter when we were up pretty big and there was a loose ball,” Holliday said. “Our first-team all-conference player, Landon Jatsek, dives headfirst on the floor trying to chase it down. I just love that grit, that effort, and energy, willing to do anything to win. That’s really something we have strived for culturally as a program, and we’re starting to get here.”

    Jatsek was just following the game plan and trying to set an example for his younger teammates.

    “I hope that throughout the years the younger players on my team have seen what team basketball can accomplish,” Jatsek said. “There is the saying, ‘There is no I in team,’ and that is a fact. Everyone needs to be involved and I do my best as the senior to fulfill that. Success takes care of itself when everyone is moving forward together.”

    Independence outscored Wickliffe in the second half, 40-7.

    “We’ve been a feat or famine type of offense, but even the games where we don’t shoot well, we’re taking quality shots,” Holliday said. “That wasn’t the case last year, so I can live with nights where the ball isn’t going in because we’re taking quality shots. We defend well enough to keep ourselves in basketball games. It’s been great to see, even at the JV level, they’re evolving as a basketball team and we continue to take small steps and gradually growing as a team.”

    Walter Cable led Wickliffe with 12 points.

    With the win, Independence improved to 9-8 overall. The Blue Devils host Fairview on Friday.


    Steve Hare
    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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