Troike powers Mohawks

By John Montgomery

Sports Writer

FOSTORIA – Each had its strength, but St. Wendelin used its best.

Kamryn Troike dominated inside and the Mohawks overcame committing 33 turnovers against Calvert’s speed Thursday to hold on for a 44-38 win, handing the Senecas their first Midland Athletic League loss.

“We just didn’t make enough plays consistently,” Calvert coach Tim Ritzler said after the Senecas fell to 3-1 in the MAL and 8-3 overall.

“We had some nice runs where we were down eight, we cut it down to one or two, but then we’d make a mistake, a blown play, we’d give up an offensive rebound and they’d start pushing the lead back up, or we’d come down, turn it over and give them a chance to build their lead back up,” he said. “We just didn’t play well consistently enough tonight.”

The Senecas had their chances.

Taylor Ritzler’s drive and foul shot at the 3:52 mark of the first quarter put Calvert up 7-6 in a back-and-forth game, but the Mohawks (6-4, 2-3) inched out to a 12-7 lead by the end of the period and didn’t allow any points off its next three turnovers in the quarter.

St. Wendelin led by seven three times in the second quarter (14-7, 16-9, 18-11), but Calvert’s offense finally began clicking and the Senecas closed the final 2:22 of the half on a 6-0 run, scoring all of those points off turnovers, to slice the deficit to 18-17 at the break.

“We were really disappointed at the half because we had a six-orseven-point lead, thought we could take it to halftime and we threw it away two or three times and all of a sudden it’s a one-point game,” St. Wendelin coach Aaron Smith said. “We’ve got to work on our turnovers. It haunts us.

“You hold a team like Calvert to 38 points, you’re playing good defense, especially when you give them 20 extra rotations than you because of the turnover differential,” he said.

But the Mohawks never let Calvert capitalize.

Allie Rutter converted a turnover into a score off the block early in the third period for St. Wendelin, and then Troike went to work.

While Calvert managed only three foul shots over the first 4:11 of the quarter, the 6-3 sophomore Troike powered for two buckets down low and a foul shot to keep St. Wendelin up 25-20.

She added another free throw with 3:37 left in the period and, after Kate Brickner’s layup got Calvert within 26-22 with 1:28 to go in the quarter, Troike scored twice down low in the final minute for a 30-22 advantage heading into the fourth.

Calvert clawed back in the final period, cutting the deficit to 34-32 on two Brickner foul shots with 4:10 to play, but the Senecas could get no closer.

Calvert’s Nicole Bickley scored down low with 1:08 left to make St. Wendelin’s lead 37-35, but Troike countered by turning one of her game-high 14 rebounds into two of her game-high 25 points.

Makenzie McAfee followed with a pair of foul shots and Edy Mowrey hit a free throw to push St. Wendelin’s lead to 42-35 with 30.5 seconds left.

Troike gave the Mohawks their biggest lead of the game (44-35) with a pair of foul shots with 4.6 seconds left to lock up the win.

“It definitely turned into a slugfest,” Smith said. “I think both coaches were concerned because we’d only had an hour of practice since Saturday, so we were pretty sure the shots weren’t going to be flying in. Ours usually don’t fly in when we do practice.

“I think they had to do what they had to do, which was pressure us and use their speed,” he said. “We had to use Kam inside to try to offset the speed.”

Rutter and McAfee each added six points for St. Wendelin,with Mowrey hauling in seven boards.

Taylor Ritzler and Brickner each tossed in 10 points for Calvert and Lindsey Bickley added nine, but the Senecas finished only 12 for 53 from the field. That included a 2-for-11 showing on 3-pointers, with both of those makes coming in the fourth quarter, the last just before the buzzer.

“I think it was just consistency shooting the ball. They had a consistent inside presence where they could get good shots and they were making them,” coach Ritzler said. “We came down on the other end, they were focused on taking Kate away; they played a diamond-and-one on her, not letting her get shots and we didn’t have enough other people step up to knock down shots for us when we did get good looks.”

Brickner also tallied eight rebounds and three steals, and Taylor Ritzler and Lindsey Bickley each snared five steals.