Lady Bombers’ junior guard Sam Bergansky (right) slips by Kirtland’s Corinne Greenlee (21) after junior guard/forward Ramsey Smith (left) sets a pick during Kenston’s comeback 50-44 victory against the Hornets on Jan. 8 at Bainbridge Township.

It looked like it could be an early day for the Kenston Bombers girls’ basketball team but they turned things around and mounted a comeback to top Kirtland 50-44 last Saturday afternoon at Bainbridge Township.

“We definitely were trying to get back on track after coming out of winter break,” said Coach John Misenko. “We knew Kirtland was a good team and they were undefeated so we knew it was going to be an important game and a good game so it feels good to get a win.”

Kenston (7-4, 1-2) was still licking its wounds after losing 38-37 to Western Reserve Conference rival Eastlake North on Jan. 5.

The Hornets wasted little time attacking in the opening period and took a 14-11 lead. Misenko admitted that the Lady Bombers were not playing their usual brand of defense and struggled to defend off the dribble, resulting in Kirtland frequently attacking the paint.

According to Misenko, the Hornets played a zone defense against Kenston. The Lady Bombers tried countering by taking long-range jumpers but fell in love with the outside shot a little too much and didn’t attack the paint.

Being a smaller team, Kenston lives and dies by the three-pointer. Other teams know that and use a zone defense to dare the Bombers to beat them with their outside shooting which can sometimes get them into trouble.

“We take a lot of threes,” explained Misenko “That’s our offense as well so the problem is when we’re e not making them then we’re in trouble and have to adjust and start to attack.

That resulted in Kirtland opening up a 12-point lead at the beginning of the second quarter. Kenston finally saw some shots go in by knocking down a pair of three-pointers in the second quarter trimming the Hornets’ lead to 26-21.

“It was important for sure because we were down five at halftime,” Misenko said. “Making a few shots got us closer to where in the second half we could be in the game. Three-pointers are big shots and are one of those things where they build momentum and gets you fired up.”

Kenston started looking like their old selves on the defensive end after beginning the second half with renewed energy. The fifth-year coach said his team was much more aggressive at defending the ball and picking up the Hornets with full-court pressure.

Kirtland still remained in the lead as senior guard Alex Rosson caught fire and knocked down three triples in the third quarter. The Bombers stayed close by picking up the pace offensively led by senior guard Catara DeJarnette.

Misenko said Kenston did a better job of attacking the paint in the third quarter and DeJarnette paced the Bombers by scoring ten points, including a pair of three-pointers to bring Kenston to within 40-39 heading into the final period.

It was exactly what Misenko expected out of his leading scorer.

“Catara’s big all the time,” he said. “She made plays and has the ball in her hands and helps to push the ball. She can make shots and she just did Catara things. Nothing she does surprises me because she’s a good player and good players make good plays and keep you in the game so she played well in the third quarter.”

The Bombers dialed up the pressure in the fourth quarter by holding Kirtland to four points. Misenko credited junior guard Brooke Pagon in leading Kenston’s defensive surge as he assigned her to guard Rosson in the final period.

After seeing the Hornets’ senior guard splash several triples during the third quarter, he told his junior guard that he did not want to see Rosson take another shot in the fourth quarter.

Pagon executed her assignment perfectly as Rosson was held scoreless. Unlike its previous game against Eastlake North, Kenston continued pushing the pace and overtook Kirtland by outscoring them by an 11-4 margin in the final quarter as the Bombers held their opponent to only two field goals.

Misenko called it the best defensive quarter of the season for his team.

“We’re a good defensive team when we want to play and that’s just it,” he said. “When we’re motivated and playing hard, paying attention to the scouting report and knowing what the other kids do for the other team in terms of trying to stop that then we’re good and we showed that on Saturday.”

DeJarnette led Kenston by scoring 21 points, collecting four rebounds, dishing out three assists and recording four steals followed by junior guard Sam Bergansky who scored 12 points, grabbed four rebounds, recorded two assists and blocked two shots.

Following a game against crosstown rival Chagrin Falls on Jan. 12, the Lady Bombers will hit the road and face Twinsburg on Jan. 15 beginning at 1:30 p.m.

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