Clyde on another level

There’s good, and then there’s GOOD.

Calvert has had a good first month of the season, winning its first eight games.

Clyde, though, is on a whole different level of good. The Fliers haven’t lost a regular season game since January 2012 and have only lost four games total since the start of the 2010-11 season.

Clyde brought back all five starters from its state semifinalist team last season, and played Monday against Calvert like a team poised to make another run at Columbus.

The Fliers took off in the later stages of the first quarter, building a 46-20 halftime lead and cruising to an 80-39 victory.

“I thought we played well,” Clyde coach John Cahill said. “I think Calvert has a really good team and I like a lot of those kids. I thought we got off to a little bit of a sluggish start, then really through the rest of the first quarter played well and I thought we played good basketball pretty much throughout tonight.

The game was played at Heidelberg University’s Seiberling Gymnasium, and it’s likely it won’t be the last time many of the Fliers play on a college floor. Amanda Cahill has signed on to play for Indiana, but she’s far from the only weapon in the Clyde arsenal.

The scoring was spread out through most of the lineup. Cahill’s 15 points led five Fliers in double figures. Kennedy Arndt scored 14 off the bench, Kelsey Michaels tallied 13 and Lexi Weber and Breanne Michaels each chipped in 10.

“We had five in double figures tonight,” Cahill said. “We talked at the end of the game tonight, we have so many kids that are playing with confidence, and with confidence comes courage. They just feel like they can go out and make plays. It’s a blessing. I can coach for another 100 years and never have a group like this. They’re unselfish, they work hard, they care about each other. It’s fun to be around them every day.”

Clyde was by far the toughest test for Calvert so far this year. Coach Tim Ritzler said he hopes his team can take some lessons from Monday night.

“We just got beat by a much better team than us,” he said. “I think that the thing we can take a way from this game, the thing you earn playing a team like that, is that’s a team that both offensively and defensively they took advantage of every weakness we had. Every time we don’t rotate or we don’t box out, they make you pay for it. It’s one we’ll go back, watch the film and we can show the girls what we need to get better at.

“I’ve been stressing some things to them over the last couple weeks, but it’s hard really to say you got to improve at this, and this, and this when you’re winning your games by an average of 20-plus. When you go against a superior team like we did and they can take advantage of things, we got to use it as a learning tool to get better.”

Calvert’s Kate Brickner converted a three-point play midway through the first quarter to make the score 13-8. Clyde then embarked on a 18-0 run stretching into the second quarter.

The second quarter was more of the same as Clyde built a lead as great as 32 points. Brickner knocked down a pair of 3-pointers late in the half to get her team a bit closer.

Clyde (10-0) forced Calvert into 17 first-half turnovers.

“That’s one thing I can say from last year to playing against them this year, they’ve gotten much better defensively,” Ritzler said. “They’ve been a good offensive team. They hit shots, they move the ball, they’re very unselfish. We just got to work harder. That’s one of the things we challenged the girls before the game, is to match their intensity. The only way you’re going to beat a team like that is to outwork them. And I just don’t think we did a very good job of that tonight.

While Calvert struggled to get shots off, Clyde rarely missed. The Fliers hit on 20 of 28 first-half shots (71.4 percent).

“I think our kids can get in a real good rhythm where they can play some real pretty basketball at both ends,” Cahill said. “I felt like we got really good shots, pretty much throughout the game tonight. And then our defense created some good offense. It’s a pleasure to watch because we’re not calling a lot or running a lot offensively. It’s just them playing together.”

For Ritzler, Monday showed him areas in which his team needs to improve as a tough Midland Athletic League slate awaits after the new year.

“I think we need to get a little better defensively,” he began. “We rebound the ball well but I don’t necessarily think we box out well. We get a lot of rebounds because we’re usually better than teams. That’s one area we can improve on. And passing. We’re making too many lazy passes. We’re not reading the defense. (Clyde does) a great job anticipating and jumping in the passing lanes and we didn’t recognize that at all and we kept throwing them the ball.

“I think we got to learn to take better care of the ball, rebound the ball a little better. A lot of teams we see aren’t going to be that quick, that athletic and play that well together. But, we see a lot of teams like Carey and New Riegel that do move the ball well, that do play hard defensively that we got to be ready for.”