Boys basketball: Kalida, Ottoville win sectional titles

BLUFFTON — After trailing since the second quarter, No. 7 seed Delphos Jefferson attempted to sneak back into Friday’s Division IV sectional final game against No. 2 seed Kalida.

But Kalida did not allow it.

In the fourth quarter, Kalida held off Delphos Jefferson for a hard-fought 52-42 victory in the first of two Division IV sectional finals Friday night at Bluffton University.

Kalida (19-4) will play Ottoville (18-5) in a district semifinal Tuesday at Elida with tip-off set for 6 p.m.

In Friday’s nightcap, No. 3 seed Ottoville defeated No. 9 seed Continental, 50-40.

“We played a solid basketball team at tournament time,” Kalida head coach Ryan Stechschulte said. “They (Delphos Jefferson) didn’t quit. Tonight was a night where we could not quite hit the big shots and get the separation of a 15, 17-point lead. But credit to them for battling; and credit to our kids for sticking together when we really weren’t making much tonight. It’s all about moving on. And we’re doing that. We’re playing on Tuesday.”

Evan Stechschulte led Kalida and all scorers with 23 points. Stechschulte also came away with 10 rebounds and three steals. Teammate Jaden Smith had 14 points and seven boards.

“We knew we had to come out hard (in the second half),” Evan Stechschulte said. “We knew coming into the game that they were going to come out ready to go. They made a couple good runs. But we had to fight back.”

Levi Rode led Delphos Jefferson (12-12) with 12 points, including two 3-pointers.

Kalida held Delphos Jefferson’s two post players, Trent Teman (6-foot-4, senior) and Karder Agner (6-3, sophomore), to 8 and 6 points, respectively. Teman was whistled for his third foul of the game, early in the third quarter.

“We came in with the focus of slowing them down in the post – Teman and Agner,” Evan Stechschulte said. “We also needed to get steals in the back end.”

In the first quarter, the score changed hands twice before the contest was knotted, 8-8 at the first stop.

Kalida was 4 of 13 shooting from the field in the first quarter, while Delphos Jefferson was 3 of 13 from the floor.

Kalida stepped up its defensive pressure.

Kalida’s pressure helped force six second-quarter Delphos Jefferson turnovers as Kalida pulled out to a 26-18 halftime lead.

Smith and Stechschulte each scored 10 first-half points for Kalida. Stechschulte came away with seven rebounds and two steals in the first 16 minutes of action.

Kalida was 9 of 25 from the field in the first half for 36-percent shooting. Delphos Jefferson connected on 7 of 22 for 32 percent.

Kalida led 36-29 at the end of the third quarter. Stechschulte scored seven points in the third.

Here came Delphos Jefferson.

At the 5:40 mark of the fourth quarter, Delphos Jefferson cut the deficit to 4, 37-33, with a field goal by Rode.

But Kalida had an answer.

Kalida closed the game out on a 15-9 run. Kalida was 6 of 9 from the field and 4 of 6 from the free throw line in the final eight minutes.

For the game, Kalida shot 42 percent from the field. Delphos Jefferson connected on 41 percent of its field goal attempts.

Kalida committed six turnovers, while Delphos Jefferson turned it over 11 times on the night.

Kalida held a slight edge on the boards, 28-27.

“They (Delphos Jefferson) are very good down there (in the post),” Coach Stechschulte said. “In the post, we were pretty solid tonight. We also want to be better off the ball. … That’s something we are always working on. I just hope that on Tuesday, we are better than we were tonight.”

Ottoville 50, Continental 40

At the end of the first quarter, Continental led Ottoville 10-9. The Pirates led 21-16 at the halftime break.

Ottoville battled back to claim a 31-30 lead by the third stop. In the final stanza, the Big Green outscored the Pirates 19-10.

Carter Horstman led Ottoville with 16 points. Kellen Schlagbaum scored 12 points. Jace Langhals added 10 points for the Big Green.

Konner Knipp-Williams led Continental (11-13) with 19 points. Mason Rayle had 12 points for the Pirates.

“I think, obviously, pace and our pressure over the long haul with them probably wore them down a little bit towards the end,” Ottoville head coach Keith Utendorf said.

Utendorf said he made some adjustments for the second half.

“We talked about a couple simple adjustments – where they were doing a lot of the same things to us, that we were trying to do to them. We just weren’t solid getting to the rim and being on balance. … We talked about that at halftime,” Utendorf said.

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