KALIDA — With Kalida starter Ayden Warnecke out of the line-up and the Wildcats in dire need of a win after two straight losses, Wildcat head coach Ryan Stechschulte knew he needed a big team effort if they were going to down Leipsic in a big Putnam County League showdown.
The Wildcat team responded.
With senior Luke Erhart , spearheading the offense with a game-high 21 points and Grant Vorst adding 18 points and the team putting in a huge defensive effort, Kalida downed Leipsic 54-33 to pick up a huge Putnam County League victory.
“It our calling card,” Stechschulte said about the defense. “The kids really bought in. Every single one of them. We pride ourselves on defense.
With the win, Kalida ends a a two-game skid and improves to 13-2 on the season and 2-1 in the league. Leipsic, who had won four-straight, falls to 11-2 for the year and 2-1 in the PCL.
Stechschulte added that focus was to stop Mason Brandt and Jaden Siefker and despite the two scoring 15 points each, they were limited to 14 points combined in the first three quarters.
“Obviously coming in we really wanted to make Brandt and Siefker’s touches and points tough and make them really work for them. We knew they would get a few.”
As far as the offense, Stechschulte said it was by committee tonight with Warnecke sitting out.
“Ayden plays the entire game for us most nights but Brandon Miller did a great job of handing the ball tonight. Brandon was fantastic tonight. He had to run the point and guard Brandt so he had a full plate tonight and did extremely well.”
Leipsic head coach Chris Kuhlman said it came down to his team not getting the offense going against the tough Wildcat defense.
“I felt like we had a good game plan coming in, knowing they were tough defensively and we kind of fumbled the ball around a few times and didn’t take advantage of our opportunities and they really did,” Kuhlman said. “Grant Vorst came in, normally a player of the bench who hit a few shots and then they got going while were fumbling the ball around.
“They played physical with our two main scorers who do the majority of scoring for us every night and we see that every night and we practice it and see it and they did a really good job of it and kind of worse us down and we didn’t make the plays that we normally do.
After the two teams struggled to score points in the first quarter, Kalida led by a 10-7 lead.
That began to change in the second quarter when Kalida continued to stymie Leipsic’s offense effort and while the Wildcats weren’t exactly scoring themselves, they managed to open up a 25-16 lead at halftime.
Leipsic’s offense hit its low point in the third quarter after Kalida limited the Vikings to three points and was Erhart, who was held to six points in the first half, began to come alive offensively. Led by his nine points, the Wildcats outscored Leipsic 17-3 to take a commanding 42-18 lead into the final eight minutes.
Erhart finished the night with a double-double as he also grabbed 11 rebounds.
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.