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    Mayfield rides defense to win over Lake Catholic

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    MAYFIELD—A slow start didn’t phase Mayfield as the Wildcats rode their defense to a 50-29 non-conference win over visiting Lake Catholic on Wednesday.

    After the Cougars jumped out to a 17-13 first-quarter lead, Mayfield responded with a 16-2 second-quarter run and then outscored Lake Catholic in the third quarter, 10-0, to take a 20-point lead into the final eight minutes.

    “It’s super important,” said Mayfield coach Cullen Harris of his team’s defensive effort. “Teams I’ve coached, we try to hang our hat on defense and that’s been my motto for 10 years. You have to be able to stop people. Shooting comes and goes and you’re going to have nights where those shots don’t fall, but you have to be able to defend.”

    Mayfield’s success against Lake Catholic was aided by an extraordinary effort in rebounding the basketball.

    The Wildcats were at a significant height disadvantage—seven Cougars stood taller than Mayfield’s tallest player—but that didn’t stop them from holding their own under the basket.

    “I was super proud of our effort on the boards,” Harris said. “We were outsized at almost every position, and we finished the possessions on the defensive end with rebounds. When you do those little things, you’re going to have a chance to be really successful as a group.”

    Mayfield trailed by as many as seven points in the first quarter but the Wildcats were able to hit a couple of 3-pointers and made key stops on defense to pull to within 17-13 after the first eight minutes.

    Nav Buttar, Jenna D’Angelo, and Fatima Sardo-Longo each hit threes in the first quarter to keep the Wildcats in the game.

    Mayfield then used an 11-0 run in the second quarter to take its first lead of the game and went on to outscore the Cougars in the second, 16-2.

    Olivia Williams, who scored a game-high 11 points, Gabby Moore, D’Angelo and Sardo-Longo each hit 3-pointers in the frame.

    A 10-0 third quarter put the game out of reach.

    The Wildcats dominated the boards in the third, which limited Lake Catholic’s opportunities for easy put-backs.

    “I tell my kids, especially the littler ones, you have to be a bulldog,” Harris said of rebounding. “You have to be a pit bull, not a chihuahua. You have to get after it. If you’re going to be little, you have to play hard and be scrappy. They’re taking that mantra to heart and they’re hard-working kids. It’s a fun group to coach.”

    Buttar and D’Angelo both contributed to the win with 10 points, Moore finished with seven, and Sardo-Longo and Sydney Montgomery both scored six.

    “The great thing about this group is we were distributed and balanced today,” Harris said. “If somebody is having an off night, we have kids who can step up and score 16 or 18 or 20, but tonight, everybody had it flowing, and we were moving the ball really well. To me, that’s basketball. The ball is moving and there isn’t a ton of dribbling. Zipping around, back cuts, bounce passes, those are the little things that become the big things, and when you get a group of kids who are talented and work hard and are athletic, and they do those little things, you have the opportunity to be successful.”

    Carmella Sowers led Lake Catholic with eight points, Ella Zampedro and Avery Budrys-Rini both scored seven points, Olivia Kitchen added five, and Sophia Iannini scored two points for the Cougars, who fell to 2-4.

    Mayfield (3-1) travels to 5-0 Madison on Saturday.

     

     

     

    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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