|Charity stripe lifts LadyCats over Titans|
|Monday, December 03, 2012 3:31 PM|
By JIM METCALFE
KALIDA — The free-throw line has not been good to the Kalida girls basketball team over the years.
It was Saturday afternoon at The Wildcat Den as the LadyCats drilled 23-of-31 from that 15-foot spot — including 13-of-17 in the final period — to subdue Ottawa-Glandorf 50-41 in a non-conference clash.
“That is something we’ve been working on a lot over the years, to try and turn it into a strength. We struggled against St. Marys Thursday, missing a number of front ends of the bonus; we made them today,” Kalida coach Adam Huber noted. “We play a lot of close games and you can win a lot of game — or lose them — at the line. We were also shooting the ball well from deep; I’ll take 5-of-9 any day.”
First-year Ottawa-Glandorf coach Troy Yant was not happy.
“The other night against Miller City, we played 12-14 girls and played well because we were ahead. Today, once we got behind, we had no one step up and want the ball,” he explained. “No one wanted to take the big shot and that is disappointing. What you saw today was the result of a poor week’s worth of practice.”
Kalida (2-1) struggled with turnovers throughout the game against the full-court O-G man-to-man pressure, committing 26 for the contest, seven in the first period as they only had seven shots (2 makes). However, thanks to the hosts’ own solid man-to-man pressure “D”, the Lady Titans could not take advantage. They led 8-5 on two singles by Kialee Koch with just over two minutes showing.
The second period proved to be the turning point. Though Kalida had six more errors, the Titans had eight (17 for the game). The LadyCats took the lead for good at 3:33 on two freebies by Kylie Osterhage (team-high 7 boards) and built their edge to 19-16 at the half as Jackie Gardner (game-high 13 counters, 5 boards) hit the first-of-2 tosses with 32.1 ticks on the board.
Both teams went at it in the third stanza, continuing to try and pressure the other’s offense and push the tempo. Every pass was an effort, every cut had to be a hard one and every rebound was contested. Still, Kalida held a 34-26 edge on a mid-lane jumper by Summer Holtkamp (11 markers, 7 in the canto) at 1:57. A 5-0 mini-run by O-G — a 3-ball by Niki Ellerbrock (5 points) and a transition layin by Koch (4 boards) at 1:04 — got it down to 34-31 but Holtkamp drilled a trifecta from the left corner at 44 ticks to make it 37-31.
Stephanie Hempfling (6 points) began the finale with a score off a turnover to get Ottawa within 37-33 but then the visitors went cold, missing their next seven shots and a free toss, plus turning it over twice. Still, they only trailed 40-35 when Elissa Ellerbrock (team-high 5 boards) hit a turnaround at 3:08. Kalida only took five shots in the period, missing all of them, it was the free-throw line where they scored all 13 of their counters in allowing them to finally salt the game away.
O-G finished 15-of-44 from the floor (1-of-3 downtown) for 34.1 percent and 10-of-14 at the line (71.4%). Anna Bellman added six markers. They tracked down 23 caroms (9 offensive) and added 25 fouls. They host Van Wert Thursday.
“We have a young team with only one senior but we’re not that young. Many of these girls got varsity playing time last winter,” Yant added. “We’re still working in a new system on both ends of the floor and there is an adjustment period with that. We’re still tentative at times but we’re depending on their overall basketball IQ to carry us through that.”
Kalida hit 11-of-25 tries (40%), including a torrid 5-of-9 from deep; grabbed 28 rebounds (7 offensive); and amassed 17 fouls. They take on Antwerp at home Thursday.
“We just had to slow ourselves down. We told the girls and kept telling them that if we can take care of the basketball, we will get more shots, which you need,” Huber added. “You are going to have some turnovers; the ones that a team needs to eliminate is the unforced ones, where you make a bad pass and simply get in too big of a hurry. We’re still working in some new faces to the lineup and that always takes time. Fortunately for us, our defense did a pretty good job as well, forcing turnovers and limiting their good shots.”
In junior varsity action, the Lady Titans threw a shutout in the fourth canto to escape with a 25-22 victory.
Megan Sheckelhoff led the victors with seven points, while Makenna Vorst countered with six for the LadyCats.