Boys basketball: Kalida charges past LCC

KALIDA — Friday’s boys basketball matchup between Lima Central Catholic and Kalida was a game of spurts.

Unfortunately for Lima Central Catholic, Kalida held a huge edge on the number of runs made.

Kalida fell behind in the first quarter.

However, the Wildcats came out inspired in the second stanza, took control of the game and never looked back, en route to a convincing 53-35 victory over LCC at Richard L. Kortokrax Court.

Ethan Warnecke led Kalida (5-3) with 12 points, six rebounds, two steals and a block. Jaden Smith had 10 points, four boards, four assists and two steals. Evan Stechschulte scored 10 points. Drew Fersch added nine points, four steals and three assists for the Wildcats.

“The first quarter, we had a tough time getting it going (offensively),” Kalida head coach Ryan Stechschulte said. “They (LCC) were kind of taking it to us.

“Something clicked there with our 1-2-2 (zone) a little bit; and we were able to turn them over a few times. … Jaden (Smith) got a big dunk there. The momentum carried into that second quarter and into the third. It was definitely kind of a snowball running downhill for us.”

Lima Central Catholic (1-1) did not have anyone score in double figures Friday night. Michael Taflinger came off the bench and scored six points, on two 3-pointers. Christian Marks came off the bench and added five points for the T-Birds.

Due to the deep run in the football playoffs this fall for Lima Central Catholic, the basketball team got a late start to its season.

Friday night, Kalida jumped out to the early lead, but LCC battled back.

In the first quarter, the score was knotted three times before the T-Birds managed to slip out with a 13-8 lead by the first stop.

LCC turned the ball over seven times in the first quarter, while Kalida turned it over six times.

LCC was 5 of 9 shooting from the field, while Kalida was 3 of 7 from the floor.

Kalida came roaring back in the second quarter, mounted an 11-2 run and pushed out to a 19-15 lead with 3:49 left to play in the first half. In that spurt by Kalida, LCC turned the ball over four times, which helped pave the way for easy transition baskets for Kalida.

By the halftime break, Kalida led 26-19.

“We were able to create turnovers there and get into the open floor and get space,” Stechschulte said. “We have some nice athletes. It’s part of what we do. The kids really take pride in it (playing defense). Tonight, it worked really well for us.”

In the first half, Kalida was 8 of 23 shooting from the field for 35 percent. LCC connected on 6 of 14 from the floor for 43-percent shooting. The T-Birds were held to just 1 of 5 shooting in the second stanza.

Warnecke led Kalida and all scorers in the first half with eight points. Warnecke also came away with three rebounds and a block.

Kalida cashed in at the free throw line in the first half, making 8 of 10 shots from the charity stripe.

For the game, the Wildcats were 10 of 12 shooting from the line.

In the first half, LCC turned the ball over 13 times. Kalida turned it over just seven times.

For the game, LCC committed 20 turnovers, while Kalida turned it over 13 times.

Kalida opened the second half with a 15-0 run and extended its lead to 41-19. By the end of the third quarter, the Wildcats had a commanding 41-25 lead.

The T-Birds turned the ball over six more times in the third frame.

Stechschulte scored seven points in that big third quarter for Kalida.

For the game, LCC shot 37 percent from the field. Kalida connected on 51 percent of its field goal attempts.

Kalida won the battle on the boards, 25-19.

Coach Stechschulte said that having five seniors in the starting lineup can be an advantage.

“Having five senior starters is a really big deal in high school basketball,” Stechschulte said. “They’re veterans. I think our experience showed a little bit, tonight.

“I don’t know for sure, but I believe all five of our starters have led us in scoring at one point in a game. They share it really well. It’s exciting to watch. They’re here for one reason. … They want to win. These are all two or three-sport athletes. They love to compete; and tonight, they did that.”

Mark Altstaetter wrote this story for Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.