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    Riley paces Independence in 53-18 win at Berkshire


    Independence’s girls’ basketball team kicked off the New Year and the second half of the 2014-2015 with a 53-18 win at Berkshire on Tuesday.

    Julia Riley scored a game-high 15 points for the Blue Devils while Halle Dorko contributed with 12 and Hallie Zumack scored eight. Victoria Sirna and Jess Dmitruk each pitched in with six points.

    “Our gals did a heck of a job,” said Independence coach Mike Marcinko. “We played hard. We got after it and played a lot of pressure. We pressed full court and half court. I was really happy with our energy on the road.”

    The Blue Devils, who improved to 5-4, jumped out to a 19-6 lead after the first quarter and never looked back.

    “I think we came out focused and followed the game plan,” Marcinko said. “Other than maybe a couple of dry spells offensively it was a real nice road win. It was good execution and the girls played hard. I’m very pleased and happy for them. It was a nice way to start off 2015.”

    For Riley, it was her second straight game leading the Blue Devils in scoring. She dropped in 12 in a 47-34 loss to Normandy on Dec. 27.

    “A lot of it is good old fashioned hard work,” Marcinko said. “We’ve cut our practices down a bit; it’s just that time of year. We’re coaching an NBA schedule coming up here so we’ve been keeping practices under an hour and a half. Some of the kids will stay after and she’s always staying after working on her 3-pointers and her footwork. She’s now seeing the fruits of her labor. She’s making herself a multi-dimensional player and hard to guard. She’s not just getting layups. She’s getting shots from the perimeter as well.”

    Dorko, who leads the team in scoring with 12.6 points per game, continues to be a steadying force for the Blue Devils.

    “She’s consistent,” Marcinko said. “We’re always counting on her 6-8 rebounds and double digits in points. She’s playing great defense too. We’re always leaning on her.”

    Marcinko also credited Nicole Ferrara and Zumack for their play on defense.

    Cindy Cooper came off the bench to provide depth for the Blue Devils.

    “She logged a lot of minutes in the second and third quarter,” Marcinko said. “She did a nice job defending their post play.”

    Independence hosts Richmond Heights 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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