KALIDA – Defense continues to carry Kalida.
The Wildcats had two big defensive stands against Spencerville to propel Kalida past the Bearcats 71-44 and keep them unbeaten on the year in a non league affair Saturday night
Kalida improves to 7-0 and Spencerville falls to 2-6.
In their first seven games, the Wildcats have given up 50 or more points once this season and that came in the first game.
“The kids take pride in it (defense),”Kalida head coach Ryan Stechschulte said. “They are pretty good athletes and are great communicators and take a lot of pride in stopping teams and they know that if they communicate well they will make it tough for teams to score.”
Spencerville head coach Kevin Sensabaugh said turnovers and silly mistakes continue to hamper his team and said this has hurt the teams effort.
“We just have to eliminate turnovers and mistakes,” Sensabaugh added. “That was the case last night. We played well last night but we had 17 turnovers and I don’t know how many we had but it was upwards of 20.”
Spencerville finished with 21 turnovers.
The first big Kalida defensive effort came at the beginning of the second quarter after the teams battled to a 16-16 tie after the first eight minutes
Spearheaded by a trio of steals from Wildcat senior Brandon Miller, Kalida went on a 12-0 run to open the second quarter and make a tight game into a double-digit advantage for the home team.
In that big run, Spencerville had five turnovers.
The Bearcats did not score their first points of the second period until the four minute mark of the second quarter.
Even though the Bearcats found themselves down 35-24 going into the second half, the Bearcats, on the strength of 3-pointers from Josh Henline and Dylan Smith, outscored Kalida 13-4 to open the third quarter and cut the lead to 39-37 at the 4:41 mark.
“That was pretty cool,” Sensabaugh said. “I am glad to see them fight back. We had a tough second quarter but I felt if we didn’t make some silly mistakes we would be fine. We did that in the third quarter and we executed and we did a decent job defensively.
“I don’t know if it was a case of running out of games or what but it was the opposite in the fourth quarter.”
However, the Wildcats made the necessary adjustments leading to the Wildcats second big defensive stand that lasted the from the end of the third quarter to the beginning of the fourth quarter when Kalida allowed four points in the final four minutes and first six minutes of the final period to secure the win.
Offensively, Luke Erhart led the way with 23 points and he grabbed eight rebounds. Ayden Warnecke, showing strong moves to the hoop, chipped in 13 points and Brandon Miller added 12 primarily off steals.
For Spencerville, Henline, who connected on 5-three pointers, finished with 16 points. Dylan Smith added 12 points.
Even though the Wildcats have gone unbeaten so far, Stechschulte said there is still plenty of basketball left and he faces another tough test in Lincolnview Wednesday. Following the game against the Lancers, the Wildcats take on Arcbold Friday followed by a trip to Crestview
“We have to stretch here coming up, so we need to continue to get better,” the Kalida head coach said.