Calvert heats up

Thursday night was cold and windy, and it snowed a lot. Being outside wasn’t a lot of fun. Unless you were a Calvert Seneca. They had a lot of fun outside.

They weren’t building snowmen or having snowball fights, but rather raining down 3-pointers.

In the first quarter, Austin Ball and Drew Ritzler seemed to be quite comfortable outside, each knocking down three 3-pointers to stake Calvert to a 24-9 advantage over St. Wendelin.

No snow plows were needed to clear the path to the finish line, as it was smooth sailing from there in a 62-30 Calvert victory.

Ball outscored St. Wendelin himself in the first half, 20-15 and finished the night with a game-high 22 points. Ritzler finished with 19.

“During pregame, I felt pretty good and we looked like we were putting together a lot of shots,” Ball said. “I put in some extra work on my Sunday to get a couple more shots in. So I think that helped overall.”

For Calvert coach Ted Willman, the open looks his guards got were a result of the way the offense ran.

“I thought tonight, we did a good job offensively of being patient; we didn’t hurry shots,” he said. “We had a lot of guys, I know Austin Ball knocked shots down, Drew was knocking shots down. But, some of those were good looks, because we were making good reads and finding those guys. They were open, tonight they were knocking shots down. Sometimes the ball got inside to Austin Perry or Marcus [Somers] and they would turn, make a read, they didn’t have something, so they kicked it out and when they kicked it out, those guys were knocking shots down tonight.”

On the other bench, St. Wendelin coach Jim Rutter said his team didn’t do a good job of making Calvert’s shooters uncomfortable behind the 3-point arc.

“One team came to play and one didn’t. We came out and it just looked like we had no energy to start,” he said. “We didn’t get to the shooters, and the shooters got to the point where they were feeling very comfortable out there. We ran through all the defenses we had. It’s just a matter of, it wasn’t what defense we were in as much as, the people that were in the game getting to the shooters. And we didn’t do that on a regular basis.”

The Calvert offense began with Ball, who had a lot of success driving through the Mohawks’ defense to create good scoring opportunities.

“We were able to penetrate and it opened a lot of shots for us and they were high percentage shots,” he said. “With no one in your face, it’s pretty good.”

“Penetrating is a big key,” Ritzler added. “As quick as (Ball) is, he penetrates a lot. That makes my job so much easier. He gets in there, takes my guy away from me. The game’s real easy when he’s getting me open shots.”

Ritzler said he was eager to get back on the court after a close loss last week to Old Fort.

“I was feeling pretty good. I wanted to get the bad taste out of our mouth,” he said. “The last couple games, we lost some close ones, haven’t been real good endings. But, it’s nice to come out and get a good win.”

Calvert followed up its big first quarter with a 20-6 second quarter. Ball scored nine and Connor Behm came off the bench to score six in the period as the lead escalated to a 44-15 mark at the break.

Calvert’s defense made things tough on St. Wendelin all night. The Senecas forced 23 turnovers and didn’t allow the Mohawks to score double figures in any quarter.

The strong defense also played a factor in keeping Calvert’s shooters in a rhythm.

“Big thing, we’re playing smarter on defense,” Ritzler said. “Coach always says you got to play aggressive but play smart. I think we did that. We were out enough to cause them some problems, but we weren’t fouling and getting in foul trouble. That slows the game down, you got to keep it going.”

“The first half, we’re pressing and we only had four fouls and we had two turnovers,” Willman added. “When we’re not fouling, and there’s flow to the game, guys who are shooting like that flow of the game. ‘Cause they’re kind of playing in rhythm, there’s a little bit of tempo, a little bit of flow.”

Calvert improves to 4-7, 3-2 Midland Athletic League. St. Wendelin slips to 5-6, 1-4.