LEIPSIC — It was a battle of two Putnam County League unbeatens.
However, Leipsic took Kalida out of its game plan in a hurry.
Leipsic led from start to finish in Saturday’s key Putnam County League girls basketball matchup, en route to a convincing 48-30 victory against Kalida.
With the victory, Leipsic notched the outright Putnam County League title with a 7-0 league mark. Overall, the Vikings are 19-1.
Kalida slips to 14-6 in all games, and 5-1 in the PCL.
Kyrsten Martinez led Leipsic and all scorers with 18 points, including five 3-pointers. Whitney Langhals had 16 points, eight rebounds and five steals for the Vikings.
Meredith Bockrath led Kalida with nine points, six rebounds and three steals.
Leipsic set the tone from the start, as it opened the contest with an 8-0 run. Kalida never recovered.
“We always talk about the first three minutes of the game and the first three minutes of the second half. … And that’s what we did today,” Leipsic head coach Gary Kreinbrink said. “The first three minutes of the game was really the difference. We jumped out to an 11-2 lead and went from there.”
This was a huge week for the Leipsic program. On Thursday, Kreinbrink notched his 500th career victory, as Leipsic defeated Ada, 51-15.
“It’s an emotional weekend,” Kreinbrink said. “I didn’t know how we would play today, because they put everything they had into Thursday’s game. But we were ready to play, today.
“We only had one day of preparation, but the kids came in, ready to go. Kyrsten Martinez got us going with her 3-point shooting. Defensively, we’ve been good all year. I thought we could keep them in the low 30s, which we did. And we were just trying to manage the game, there at the end.”
Leipsic jumped out to an 8-0 lead. Langhals scored six of those points. The Vikings kept pushing the pace and pulled out to a 19-4 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Leipsic was 7 of 13 shooting from the field in the first eight minutes. Martinez connected twice behind the 3-point line for six first-quarter points. Kalida, on the other hand, was 1 of 9 from the floor.
Leipsic cooled off in the second quarter, connecting on 1 of 10 of its field goal attempts. However, the Vikings went into the halftime break with a 25-10 advantage.
In the first half, Langhals and Martinez led the Vikings with nine points each. Langhals also came away with five rebounds and four steals. Martinez had two 3-pointers and was 3 of 3 from the free throw line.
Leipsic’s defensive pressure helped cause 14 first-half turnovers for Kalida. For the game, the Wildcats turned the ball over 18 times. Leipsic had 16 turnovers on the day.
“We got into a little bit of foul trouble there (second quarter),” Kreinbrink said. “Their post players are really good with (Camille) Hovest (four points, six rebounds, three steals) and (Malia) Romes (two points). We had to manage that – and play a little zone. … We mixed it (zone) in a little bit.”
The Vikings led 41-21 at the end of three quarters. Martinez had three 3-pointers in the third.
For the game, Kalida shot 23 percent from the field. Leipsic connected on 37 percent of its field goal attempts.
Leipsic held a slight 30-28 edge on the boards.
Kalida head coach Adam Huber said his team’s dismal first quarter led to its demise.
“After that point (first quarter), it was even. The problem was, we had to play that first quarter,” Huber said. “To their (Leipsic) credit, they were ready to play more than we were. … That’s on me. I thought we were ready. We looked a little timid at first, and it showed.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.