The Lady Tigers playoff run begins


Photo courtesy of Zenith Photographer Madi Machado

The Chagrin Falls Girls Basketball team has their eyes on a deep postseason run this season.  They took a loss in their final regular season game against Cuyahoga Heights, 44-27, but that didn’t take away from a surprisingly successful season for the Lady Tigers. 

“Going into the season we didn’t really have any expectations because we are a younger team, but we knew we wanted to be a defensively strong and competitive team,” said Senior Jenna Santamaria. 

Santamaria is one of four seniors on the team this year, three of whom are returning for their 4th year. Elana Mcginnis made her return this year after not playing since freshman year, and she has made her presence felt. Mcginninis is averaging 7 points per game, along with 3 rebounds and 3 assists. 

“I think Elana McGinnis has thoroughly impressed me this season after coming back from 2 years off. The hustle and drive she has is admirable,” said her senior teammate Kate Bartlett. 

With the help of McGinnis’s all-around play, along with sophomore standout Lily Stukus averaging 16 points per game, the Lady Tigers took home the 2022-23 Chagrin Valley Conference(CVC) Championship, finishing 16-6. 

“Our main goal coming into this season was to go all out and give maximum effort every single play of every single game. This mentality eventually turned into 16 wins,” Bartlett stated. 

Coming into the season, teams like West Geauga and Hawken were heavily favored to win the conference, but the players didn’t let the doubts get to them. The Lady Tigers Swept West Geauga, beating them in both of their meetings, and beat Hawken in 1 out of 2. 

“Winning the CVC championship was amazing because we were the underdogs against west G and Hawken and no one thought that going into this season we would win the conference,” Santamaria explained. 

The team clinched the championship after their win over Orange on January 25, cutting down the nets and celebrating. 

“It felt so validating to finally clinch that title, and especially sweeping some teams that we have never been able to in the past,” Bartlett added. 

With the CVC Championship down, the focus turns to the OHSAA Division II playoff tournament. The Tigers are seeded 4th and after a first-round bye are slated to face Streetsboro High School in the Sectional Championship on February 18. 

They faced the Rockets once before this season, falling 34-28 on February 4 in a hard-fought, down-to-the-wire matchup. Santamaria recorded her season low in points that game and is prepared to bounce back and get the win this time around. 

“We have a really tough game for the sectional finals and our motto is just to take it one game at a time so hopefully we can top Streetsboro and then see where we go from there,” she continued. 

The Lady Tigers know the road ahead of them is tough, but they are determined to begin a lengthy playoff run. 

“We expect to give everything we have to hopefully extend our season,” Bartlett declared. 

The team bond has never been closer, and the Lady Tiger’s chemistry is their best weapon. 

  “Out of all years, I think this year we have the strongest bond, we are definitely ready,” Santamaria finished.