BAINBRIDGE The Kenston girls basketball team used a smothering defense to shut down rival West Geauga in a 45-29 victory over the Wolverines at Kenston High School.
Kenston's defense forced 27 West G turnovers, which did not make coach Cheryl Rye happy.
"Kenston played their usual game," Rye said. "They executed very well. We panicked with the ball, we didn't trust our teammates or communicate defensively.
"We knew it would be a tough game, we didn't execute. We were very tentative with the ball."
Kenston is now 7-4 and 3-1 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Chagrin Division, which is tied in first place. West G fell to 5-4, 2-2.
Kenston coach Kevin Hinkle saw the Bombers execute his game plan.
"We were very happy with our defensive pressure all game," Hinkle said. "We were solid in the half court. I'm extremely pleased."
West G scored the first point of the game on a free throw by Caitlin Curtis, but the Bombers scored 13 of the next 16 points for a 13-4 lead. All four of West G's points came from Curtis, who also hit a 3-pointer. A second Wolverine didn't score until there was just 38 seconds left in the first quarter when Brianne Goodrich hit a basket.
Curtis was the lone Wolverine who played well offensively as she scored 14 points. She hit three 3-pointers and was 5-for-6 from the foul line. Goodrich was next with seven points and three rebounds before fouling out halfway through the fourth quarter. No other Wolverine had more than two points.
The Bombers maintained that lead going into halftime up, 21-11. The Wolverines made just four field goals in the first half and finished with nine for the game.
Kenston put the game away in the third quarter as West G was forced into four turnovers in the first 1:30 of the second half. The only field goal in the third quarter for the Wolverines was a 3-pointer by Curtis with 45 seconds left in the quarter.
All of that added up to a 14-3 run by the Bombers to start the third quarter for a 35-14 lead.
Mandy Marchant led Kenston with 10 points and five rebounds.
"I love coming out here for this rivalry game," Marchant said. "We came out and did our best. We played as a team. I feel great. I'm going home with a smile on my face."
Marchant's scoring has picked up of late.
"I was really nervous at the beginning of the season," Marchant said. "I decided to go out and play and not think about it."
Next was Jasmine Gentry with eight points, five steals and two assists. Not every Bomber provided big scoring numbers, but many contributed in different ways. Grace Moran had five points and a game-high six steals while Tara Teeples scored five points with four assists and four rebounds. Catherine Rachek led Kenston with eight rebounds to go along with four assists. Kenston showed off its depth as 10 girls played in the first quarter alone. Overall, 12 girls played and eight scored.
"If we're going to full court press, we have to have a bunch of girls learn and understand their roles.
"I'm very pleased with our effort and work ethic."
The loss didn't dampen Rye's enthusiasm for the rest of the season.
"We'll get better," Rye said. "We've shown flashes of brilliance."
Kenston will face another rival, Chagrin Falls, at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Kenston High School. West G will play Orange at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at West Geauga High School.