CHARDON—At times during a 44-40 win over visiting Cuyahoga Falls on Thursday, the Chardon Hilltoppers showcased the cohesiveness that led to seven wins in their last games.

And at other times, the Hilltoppers were more concerned with celebrating their seniors during their last regular-season home game.


“Senior Night is always weird,” said Chardon coach Cullen Harris. “Your rotations are off and the kids are emotional and they try to make sure the kids who don’t play as much some extra looks and opportunities to have a great Senior Night. Fortunately, we came away with the win but, more importantly, beyond the win, this is going to be a memory for some of those kids forever.”

Chardon, who closed out the regular season with a 15-7 record, was in sync early as the Hilltoppers built a 16-8 first-quarter lead.

Ashley Hoenigman scored all seven of her points in that opening quarter.

The Hilltoppers weren’t as sharp the rest of the way as they worked to distribute the ball to all six of the seniors.

“I always talk about Chardon being a special place,” Harris said. “We’re one middle school, one travel team per grade, one high school, and those kids have all played together since they were eight years old. It was really a night of celebration of them and how much they’ve grown as people and young ladies, and that’s what’s really important about Senior Night. While the basketball is sloppy at times, that’s a secondary concern when it comes to Senior Night.”

Seniors Jo Janda, Hoenigman, Fiona Slaymaker, Sam Liechty, Kayla Noerr and Alaina Goss all scored in the game.

Janda led Chardon with nine points, Hoenigman contributed with seven, Slaymaker added six, Liechty finished with five, Noerr added two and Goss added one.

Emily Noerr and Emma McCartney both scored six and Riley Zimmerer pitched in with two points.

Cuyahoga Falls made a late run, which forced the Hilltoppers to overcome some adversity in the final moments of their last tune-up before Saturday’s sectional semifinal at New Philadelphia.

“It was dealing with adversity and figuring out how to deal with time management at the end of the game and valuing those possessions in the last four minutes,” Harris said of the final moments. “That’s a positive to take away from that game.”

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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.