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    Red hot Huskies win again


    Cardinal’s young basketball team hasn’t been known for its fast starts this season but the Huskies couldn’t have drawn up a better first quarter than the one they turned in on Monday in a 66-47 win over visiting St. John.

    The Huskies, who combined to score 24 points in the first quarter of their previous four games, hung up a 20-spot in the first eight minutes against the Fighting Heralds.

    “We didn’t have a practice for them and only a day break to recover after that tough Wickliffe game on Saturday,” Cardinal coach Joe DiMattia said. “I’m really happy with how everyone played. It was nice to come out and put some points on the board early.

    Ronee Collins scored six of her 11 in the opening quarter and Julianna Pollack added five of her seven in the quarter.

    “We were hitting shots,” DiMattia said. “We didn’t face too much pressure from them and when they did pressure us we were able to handle it. We just came out and hit shots. Ronnie hit two 3s. Julianna hit a couple of shots in the first quarter too and if she’s hitting shots we’re going to score a lot of points.”

    Collins has been especially effective over the past few weeks as Cardinal has won four of its last six games.

    “She’s just a good player,” DiMattia said. “She’s fast and aggressive and she has a nice shot. She’s not afraid to shoot. A lot of times freshmen are a little hesitant to come out and take some shots but with a young team, she doesn’t have a choice.”

    Cardinal slowed down a bit in the second quarter but held a 27-19 advantage at the break.

    The Huskies, who improved to 6-13 overall, regained their rhythm in the second half and pulled away from St. John.

    Haley Domen led the Huskies with 18 points, Collins finished with 11 and Brianna Doolittle and Cassie Nguyen added nine and eight, respectively.

    “Bri had a good game again. She struggled over Christmas break but the last three or four games she’s coming out and shooting confidently again. She’s hitting three or four shots a game and she’s averaging about 10 rebounds a game,” DiMattia said. “Our other freshman, Cassie, she came out and hit a bunch of buckets. She had four big shots in the fourth quarter. She’s also got a good shot and if she’s open, she’s going to shoot it and she’s starting to hit shots again.”

    Cardinal opened the season with just two wins in its first 13 games.

    Since then, the Huskies have won back-to-back games twice and on Wednesday they’ll travel to Kirtland to assess just how far they’ve come this season.

    Kirtland won the first matchup, 53-25.

    “We played them tough the first time we played them even though the score didn’t really show it,” DiMattia said. “We played them tough and hung with them and we’ve played seven or eight games, probably more than that, since the last time we played them and our freshmen are getting more confident. They are getting more playing time so they have more experience. Hopefully, we come out and give them a good game.”

    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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