VAN WERT – Kalida took a while to get it going at the offensive end of the court.
However, Kalida was clicking on all cylinders at the defensive end in its 51-27 victory over Patrick Henry in a Division IV sectional semifinal boys basketball game Wednesday night at Van Wert High School.
Kalida (16-7) will face Lincolnview (12-11) Friday at Van Wert in a sectional title game, with tip-off around 8 p.m.
Lincolnview defeated Miller City in the second sectional semifinal Wednesday, 49-47, on a last-second shot.
Kalida shot just 39 percent from the field Wednesday night. However, the Wildcats’ defensive pressure helped cause 25 Patrick Henry turnovers, including a total of 22 miscues in the first three quarters.
“We preach to our kids all the time that defense travels,” Kalida coach Ryan Stechschulte said. “If we didn’t have it (defensive effort) tonight, I don’t know if we would be playing Friday (in sectional final).”
Luke Erhart led Kalida with 14 points, seven rebounds and two steals. Evan Roebke scored 11 points and made two steals. Gabe Hovest had nine points, six boards and three steals for the Wildcats.
Freshman Gavin Jackson led Patrick Henry (2-21) with eight points.
Patrick Henry shot 43 percent from the floor. However, the Patriots managed just 21 shot attempts on the night (9 of 21).
Both teams struggled at the offensive end in the first quarter of action.
Kalida claimed the early lead, and eventually slipped out with a 7-3 advantage by the first stop.
In the first eight minutes, Patrick Henry was just 1 of 5 shooting from the field. Kalida was 3 of 13 from the floor.
Patrick Henry struggled against Kalida’s pressure as it committed seven turnovers in the first stanza.
The Wildcats kept pressuring.
Kalida pushed its lead to 21-12 by the halftime break.
Kalida’s pressure sped up Patrick Henry.
The Patriots ended the first half with 14 turnovers. Kalida limited Patrick Henry to just 3 of 7 shooting from the field in the first 16 minutes.
Kalida was 9 of 31 from the floor in the first half. Erhart led Kalida with eight points and five rebounds.
“That first half was pretty miserable at the offensive end,” Stechschulte said. “I don’t know if we made a shot outside of about a foot. But they kept
battling, they kept guarding, and we got a few (shots) to fall in the third quarter and were able to put some distance between us.
“I think we were about 0 for 13 in the first half on threes. … And I would have told our kids to take every one of those shots. Our kids were getting good shots. They just weren’t making them.”
Kalida shifted to another gear in the third quarter.
The Wildcats opened the second half with a 15-2 run, pulling out to a 36-14 lead with two minutes left to play in the third.
Erhart got busy down low and scored four points, and Zach VonderEmbse (four points, four steals) hit a 3-pointer to ignite the Wildcats.
The Patriots continued to turn the ball over, and Kalida made them pay with easy transition buckets. Patrick Henry turned the ball over eight more times in the third stanza.
Kalida led 39-16 by the third stop. By that point, the Wildcats had seized total control of the contest.
Kalida won the boards, 25-21.
Stechschulte was not overly concerned with his team’s struggles at the offensive end Wednesday night.
“This time of the year, you just want to get one more point than the other team. … That’s what we’re going to try to do on Friday,” he said with a grin.
Lincolnview 49, Miller City 47
It was a see-saw affair in Wednesday’s second sectional semifinal at Van Wert.
So, it was only fitting the game would come down to the final possession.
With the game knotted at 47 and time winding down in regulation, Jake Bowersock (six points) made an inside shot to give Lincolnview the hard-fought win.
“It felt like, we would make a shot, then they would come down and make a play. Lucky for us, we were able to make the last play of the game,” Lincolnview coach Brett Hammons said. “They executed just like we drew it up. Clayton (Leeth) made a great pass into Jake, and Jake finished for us.”
Creed Jessee led Lincolnview (12-11) with 19 points, including two 3-pointers.