By ANGELO VELOTTA
For the Star Beacon
SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP —
The Kirtland Hornets went on the road and defeated the Lakeside Dragons Wednesday night, 63-37.
Once Kirtland (11-3, 6-0) found its rhythm, there was no stopping the Hornets.
Lakeside (1-15) battled early on, trailing by just one point after the first period at 12-11.
The second quarter saw Lakeside continue to play tough defense on Kirtland, however at the other end of the floor it was the Hornets defense that also kicked up the pace, leading to the Hornets winning the second quarter 14-5 to take the lead at halftime, 26-16.
“They played a tight zone D, lots of pressure,” Kirtland coach Bob Bell said. “Keep going in and kick out. When we did that we had pretty good success.”
That good rhythm came for the Hornets to kick off the second half and third quarter as they swarmed Lakeside on the defensive end of the floor to create a lot of turnovers and pressure.
This helped create a better offensive flow for Kirtland at the other end of the floor, leading to the Hornets doubling up Lakeside in the third quarter of play 20-10, and again extending their lead to 20, 46-26.
“We’ve done that in multiple games (this year), a great first half, and off break we lose intensity,” Lakeside coach David Malone said. “We came out of the second half hit a 3, they scored four, it’s only a one-point (difference).”
But then Kirtland picked up the pace again. The fourth quarter saw the Hornets continue to find and follow their stride winning 17-11, and giving the final score 63-37.
“We strive for balance in scoring, not just four or five (players), we need the whole team effort and play pretty good solid defense,” Bell said.
Junior Karen Somes led the way for the Hornets with a game-high 16 points.
“I guess I just relaxed instead of letting the game get to me,” Somes said. “Our team got rhythm.”
Somes scored 14 of her 16 in the second half.
Senior Alicia Ponzani scored 11 for the Hornets, junior Riley Jernejcic added 8, junior Kaley Sliders scored 7 while Alexa Knezevic also added 7.
As for Lakeside, senior Shelby Smith led the way with 13 points and 10 rebounds in a double-double effort, freshman Sara Morehouse had 9 points and 10 rebounds as well.
“Alexis has done a great job. She did a great job,” Malone said. “(We need) to maintain intensity for four full quarters. (It’s) hard to play from behind.
“Bob Bell is a good coach, (and they’ve) got a good program.”
Velotta is a freelance writer from Concord Township.