KALIDA — Kalida didn’t have its “Grade A’’ shooting night.
So the Wildcats simply did it with their man-to-man defense.
Kalida’s press and halfcourt man defense was smothering in a 46-32 victory against Crestview in a Friday night boys basketball game.
Kalida, which has won three in a row, is 5-5.
“Defensively, our effort was great,” Kalida coach Ryan Stechschulte said. “It was a physical game, and we were sloppy with the ball early on.
“I told our kids I was proud of them because I’m not sure on a night like this where we struggled shooting the ball, that we would find a way to win early in December. We kept battling.’’
Crestview is 2-7.
Luke Erhart led Kalida with 11 points and eight rebounds. He scored eight in the final quarter, including going 4 of 4 at the foul line.
Evan Roebke added 11 points and five rebounds.
Zach VonderEmbse added seven points and six rebounds.
Ohio State-bound Kalen Etzler led Crestview with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
“We know Kalen can score, so we were trying to key in on him,” Erhart said.
The 6-foot-5 Erhart drew the assignment of watching the 6-8 Etzler in the halfcourt.
“Growing up, I played with him a lot (in AAU), and I know he can catch fire quick so I didn’t want to get him any open shots,” Erhart said. “You don’t want to give him any open space (behind the 3-point line) because he’s going to go up and shoot it. You want to be up in his grill and make sure he doesn’t have a chance to shoot it.’’
Added Stechschulte, “Those two go way back and have played a lot of basketball together. Luke loves riding that challenge. I thought he did a pretty good job tonight, and so did the whole team.’’
Kalida led 20-15 at the half and 30-20 after three
Kalida then started the final quarter on an 8-0 run to pull out to a 38-22 lead with 4:51 to go.
During that run, Erhart hit a 15-footer.
Next Erhart had a block, which led to a Jayce Horstman fast-break layup at the other end. Horstman was fouled and sank the foul shot.
When Roebke hit a driving layup and a foul shot, the Wildcats’ lead grew to 38-22.
Both teams made their share of turnovers. Kalida had 20 turnovers, while Crestview had 18.
Kalida won the boards, 46-32.
Kalida shot 32 percent from the field and was only 5 of 23 on 3-pointers.
Crestview shot 29 percent from the field and was 4 of 15 on threes.
The game started slow, with both teams struggling from the field.
Crestview led 8-7 after the first quarter.
With the score tied at 13, Kalida ran off a 7-2 burst to take a 20-15 to the locker room at halftime.
During that run, VonderEmbse hit a follow shot to give the Wildcats the lead to stay, 15-13.
VonderEmbse hit a fast-break layup and was fouled. He missed his foul shot, but Erhart rebounded and fed Ayden Warnecke at the top of the key.
Warnecke drained the 3-pointer to give Kalida a 20-13 lead with 2:47 left in the first half.
Kalida was coming off two impressive holiday victories, 67-38 over Lincolnview, and 58-30 over New Bremen.
“We started off 2-5 and we wanted to turn that around before we got into the full league play,” Erhart said. “Right now we’re on a three-game win streak and we’re looking pretty good. Hopefully, we can keep it up.’’
Added Stechschulte, “That senior bunch is used to winning in all sports, so they looked up and saw we were 2-5 and I think they realized, ‘we better go or we’re going to run out of season.’ ’’
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