Senecas not Thunderstruck

Tim Ritzler was likely hopeful he’d get a chance to play all 13 girls on his Calvert varsity roster in the non-league game against upstart Monclova Christian Monday night. The way things were going in the first quarter, there was no guarantee 13 players would be enough.

The Senecas were whistled for nine fouls in the first period, but all the rest of their numbers looked good in a runaway 73-23 win.

“I was a little disappointed in the way we started,” Ritzler said after his club improved to 12-5 while dropping the Thunder to 3-9. “We fouled a lot. I think they were already in the bonus maybe four or five minutes into the game.

“We missed shots early and that’s kind of been our MO this year we get off to slow starts,” he said. “We did it last game and we did it again tonight. Once the girls got settled and focused on playing defense and moving their feet instead of trying to get a bunch of steals, our defense came out much better.”

There were plenty of opportunities as Monclova Christian had 12 turnovers in the first quarter, 19 by halftime and 36 for the game.

“Turnovers have been a real big issue for us,” first-year Monclova Christian coach Oscar Velasquez said. “It really hurts us because the other teams capitalize on those and it puts us in a spot where we have to try to catch up early in the game.”

Megan Funkhouser opened the game’s scoring with a 3-pointer and Nicole Bickley had a couple of inside baskets as Calvert opened a 9-0 lead. Taylor Ritzler came off the bench to add five early points, including a 3-pointer, as the Senecas pushed the margin to 19-6 by quarter’s end.

After freshman Rachel Keiser scored for the Thunder, Calvert ran off 12 straight points for a 31-8 lead. The Senecas put up 26 in the quarter, including a 12-0 run over the final three minutes to make it 45-12.

Bickley scored eight in the second period and Samantha Beckley added eight in the third. The two shared the scoring lead for the Senecas with 14 points each.

“I thought tonight was probably the best we’ve passed the ball all year,” Ritzler said. “We were sharing the ball nicely and finding the open person. In the second half, when they went to a zone, I thought we did a nice job of working it around, getting open shots and getting the ball to our post players.”

Ritzler and Kate Brickner each scored nine points for the Senecas while Marisa Horn, Funkhouser and Amber Perry were each netting six.

Calvert owned a huge edge in rebounding, 41-24. Alanna Widman led with eight rebounds while Bickley had seven and Beckley six.

“We’ve got a lot of depth on this team and a lot of people contributed for us,” Ritzler said. “It’s good that we had some other people step up because you never know when you might need them in a big game and you want them ready to go.”

Keiser had eight points, Jessie Holtzscher added seven and Elizabeth Keiser had six for the Thunder.

“We have a young team, mostly freshmen and sophomores,” Velasquez said. “The turnovers are just something we have to work through. It helps to play good teams like this one so our girls can see the difference and see what it can become for them if they keep working at it.”