KIRTLAND—With two projected starters sidelined by injury, Kirtland kicked off the season with a 58-45 loss to visiting Garrettsville Garfield on Saturday.
|Samantha Achauer battles for a loose ball|
Garfield’s two 6-foot-1 forwards made it very difficult for the Hornets to run an offense inside the paint but their hustle kept them in the game until late in the second half.
“I told the kids that if the game was based on strictly hustle we win,” said Kirtland coach Bob Bell. “I thought that we played very, very hard against a very good team. They truly were the better team, there’s no question about it. They had height and used their height well.”
The G-men led just 11-8 after the first quarter and 28-22 at halftime.
They pulled away with a 17-5 third quarter.
“We had everybody where we wanted them in the press breaker,” Bell said. “It was just a matter of execution.”
Garfield’s Madisson Geddes, who scored a team-high 16 points, hit a pair of 3-pointers and Grayson Rose scored five of her 10 points in the quarter.
Senior Samantha Achauer scored a game-high 19 points for the Hornets. She scored five in the final two minutes of the first half to keep the Hornets in the game at the break.
“Sam is capable of putting some numbers up on the board,” Bell said. “She’s the only senior on the floor and the only senior that’s even dressed right now so we look to her for leadership. She provides that for us. She’s a good, strong player.”
Junior Taylor Somodji was limited due to a pair of early fouls but she contributed with 12 points.
“Unfortunately Taylor was in foul trouble pretty much from the get go but still managed to get us 12 points and 7-of-8 from the foul line,” Bell said.
Freshman Sydney Snyder made a solid varsity debut with eight points.
“She played really well and I thought she handled the ball pretty well for us against pressure,” Bell said. “I thought that she shot the ball reasonably well. She’s got a good shot. Even the ones she missed looked good. I think that all of them will pick up their offense as we go.”
Junior post Claire Neibecker made the most of a difficult situation in the paint. At 5-foot-8, she was giving up nearly half a foot to Garfield’s inside players but held her own on the boards.
“Claire had a monumental job in there going against that kind of height,” Bell said. “It was really hard for her to get shots off but she will contribute offensively.”
The Hornets return to action on Tuesday when they host Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin.
“We’ll regroup and get ready for NDCL on Tuesday,” Bell said. “We need to clean a few things up. We need to shoot a little better and make our free throws but I was real happy with the girls’ attitude as far as the way they played the game. They played very hard.”