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High school girls basketball: Cornerstone comes up short in trip to Grand Valley

Jan. 25—The Grand Valley girls basketball team cut down the nets in their gymnasium on Jan. 24 after clinching the outright CVC Valley Division championship.

The Mustangs christened the new nets by setting them on fire with a first-half shooting displey on Jan. 25, paving the way for a 44-36 win over Cornerstone Christian in a game where both coaches looked at things as a postseason primer.

"Hats off to Grand Valley. They got their conference championship," Cornerstone coach Lisa Stopp said regarding GV's 55-28 win over Cardinal a day earlier. "It's really hard when you have a big win like that and then play another team and play well. And they did. They got us from the get-go."

Coach Lisa Stopp laments @CCA_ladyhoops 44-38 loss to Grand Valley tonight. pic.twitter.com/erciVpFFHT

— News-Herald preps (@NHPreps) January 26, 2024

Cornerstone (11-6) never led. But it was a close game until the latter portions of the second quarter when GV's Reagan Boiarski hit back-to-back 3-pointers, Cloe Turk hit another and then Boiarski swished another triple for a 12-0 run all on 3-bombs. That opened a 26-13 lead with 1:55 left in the half, and Cornerstone never recovered.

"That was really the difference in the game," said Zach Sirrine, GV's first-year coach who has guided his team to a 14-4 record this far. "That's not something we always do. We're not always the best shooting team. But it was great to see some fall tonight."

Cornerstone trimmed the margin to 26-15 at the half on a Kamryn O'Leary jumper. And when Dakotah Barnes slashed through the lane a short early in the third quarter, the Patriots whittled GV's lead to 26-18. But the Mustangs went on a 10-0 run starting two Dixie Miller free throws to go with a Boiarski putback, an and-one from Miller and another 3-ball from Turk — who had a career-high 14 points.

That 10-0 run opened a 36-18 GV lead.

Coach Zach Sirrine of @MustangsSport discusses Grand Valley's win over @CCA_ladyhoops tonight. pic.twitter.com/Cc2WgkR0iN

— News-Herald preps (@NHPreps) January 26, 2024

Cornerstone then went on a run of its own, starting with a Mylia Bell runner to end the third quarter. When the Patriots scored 16 of the first 18 points of the fourth quarter, including an and-one by De'Asia Davis, GV's lead was cut to four at 38-34. But the Mustangs got an and-one from Turk to stretch it back out to seven and the Patriots never got closer than five the rest of the way.

"We made a little run of our own to end the game," Sirrine said, crediting his team's ability to finish.

Boiarski and Turk shared game-highs with 14 points each in a win that Sirrine hopes gets his team a first-round by in the Division III tournament and a home game in the opener.

"That's what we talked about before the game," he said. "We talked about this being a tournament game — a tournament opponent and a really good team in Cornerstone. We just wanted to come out and player our best and see how we matched up. They're a team that's at the level we want to get to. It was a great job by the girls tonight."

Cornerstone got a team-high nine points from both Barnes and Davis, with Bell adding nine, but Stopp lamented a missed opportunity to play well. And with another game on Jan. 26 against West Geauga, recovery time will be short.

"We scheduled a game here to kind of get us ready for the tournament. This is one of the district sites," Stopp said. "We knew we were going to play a great opponent. And we didn't bring it."