KALIDA – Big-time players make big-time plays.
In Saturday’s nonleague boys basketball matchup between Kalida and Archbold, Kalida senior standout Luke Erhart stepped up when his team needed it the most.
Erhart poured in a game-high 25 points and pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds to lead Kalida over Archbold 46-45, in an overtime thriller at Richard L. Kortokrax Court.
The 6-foot, 5-inch Erhart not only got the job done in the paint, but he also hit two 3-pointers and made 9 of 11 shots from the free throw line. Teammate Grant Vorst added seven points, four rebounds and three steals for Kalida.
With the win, Kalida remains undefeated at 9-0. Archbold slips to 3-3.
The biggest moment for Erhart on Saturday, was when he made two free throws in the waning moments of overtime to seal the victory for Kalida.
“We weren’t sharp. There’s no doubt about that,” Kalida head coach Ryan Stechschulte said. “But Luke (Erhart) was fantastic, and he made some big plays in regulation and in overtime. He’s the kind of kid that has worked so hard for those moments. With two seconds on the clock, down one, and shooting a one-and-one – that was his dream. He’s dreamed about that his whole life. You have a pretty good player when he steps to the line in that kind of situation.”
DJ Newman led Archbold with 23 points and four rebounds. Teammate Austin Roth scored nine points, on three 3-pointers.
After finding themselves down 2-0 to start the contest, the Wildcats went on a 6-0 run to claim a 6-2 lead.
The lead changed hands three times in the first quarter, as Kalida managed to slip out with an 11-10 lead at the first stop.
Newman kept Archbold close in the first eight minutes, as he scored seven first-quarter points.
“Archbold is a good team. … They’re good every year,” Stechschulte said. “No. 10 (Newman) was phenomenal tonight. (He had) a pull-up (shot), mid-range (shot), and he could go every direction. He was very, very good tonight.”
The lead changed hands three times in the second stanza before Kalida came away with a 22-21 lead by the halftime break.
After not committing a single turnover in the first quarter, Kalida turned it over five times in the second stanza.
For the game, Kalida turned the ball over only nine times. Archbold turned it over just 10 times.
Erhart and Vorst led Kalida in the first half with seven points each. Erhart pulled down eight boards in the first 16 minutes of action.
Newman paced the Blue Streaks with 13 first-half points.
Kalida was 9 of 24 shooting from the field in the first half for 38 percent. Archbold was 9 of 17 from the floor for 53 percent.
It continued to be a see-saw battle in the third quarter, as the lead switched three times before Kalida came away with a 2-point advantage by the third stop, 31-29.
A 3-pointer by Erhart and two inside field goals by Tyson Siefker (six points, two steals) kept the Wildcats on top.
But Archbold kept fighting back.
The Blue Streaks knotted it at 34 with 5:50 left to play in regulation, on an inside bucket by Newman.
Moments later, Archbold reclaimed the lead, 37-36, on Roth’s third 3-pointer of the game.
“No. 20 (Roth) is a good shooter; and he got loose tonight,” Stechschulte said. “He hurt us. He hit three 3-pointers. Good teams will make you pay for your mistakes. Archbold did that tonight. We were just fortunate to get out of here with a win.”
Kalida responded; and like throughout the game, it was Erhart stepping up at the right time.
With 1:40 left in regulation, Erhart hit a deep 3-pointer to give the Wildcats a 41-39 advantage.
But Archbold would not go away.
Newman’s field goal with 1:20 left to play, knotted the game at 41 each.
Then, after an empty possession for Kalida, Archbold regained possession, with less than a minute to play.
The Blue Streaks eventually called a time out with 19.3 seconds left in regulation, to set up a play.
After a couple passes, Newman got his opportunity right before the buzzer as he took a 30-footer. But his long-range shot rimmed out and the game went to overtime.
With 20 seconds left to play in the extra session, Tyler Hurst (two points, two rebounds) got a backdoor pass and laid it in to give the Blue Streaks a 45-44 lead.
Kalida was not done.
With two seconds left, Erhart was fouled inside the paint, and went to the free throw line to shoot two. Erhart calmly made the two charity tosses to give Kalida the 1-point lead for good.
For the game, Kalida shot 40 percent from the field. Archbold countered with 47-percent shooting from the floor.
The difference in the game was at the free throw line. Kalida was 10 of 13 from the line. Archbold was 3 of 4 from the charity stripe.
Kalida held a slight 24-21 edge on the boards.
“They (Archbold) took advantage of some matchups,” Stechschulte said. “That’s what a good coaching staff and a good team does.
“It was a game of adjustments there at the end. I thought in the fourth quarter and overtime, defensively, we were pretty darn good.”
Kalida 34, Archbold 28
KALIDA — Kalida outscored Archbold 25-15 in the second half to secure the win. Wildcat Grace Klausing had 12 points, seven rebunds and three steals. Kathryn Sieebeneck added eight points.
The Wildcats improve to 3-4 on the season. Archbold falls to 4-5.