Calvert, New Riegel moving on to districts
It’s said a second win over a team in a single season is twice as nice.
There isn’t a gauge to measure such things, but one thing is certain about Calvert’s second girls basketball win over Old Fort in 11 days: The second one was way, way more important.
Downright historic, in fact.
The Senecas limited Old Fort to 13 points over the middle two quarters on the way to a 57-42 win to claim their first Division IV sectional championship in 22 years.
In Saturday’s other sectional title match, New Riegel downed Norwalk St. Paul, 48-30. Calvert meets South Central at in the Shelby District Thursday at 6:15 p.m. The Blue Jackets face Buckeye Central in the 8 p.m. game.
“This feels fantastic. It’s been a long, long time,” said Calvert coach Tim Ritzler, who was a grade-schooler the last time the Seneca girls pulled this off.
“What makes it so special is we really had to earn it,” he said. “The two teams we beat are two very good teams in Hopewell and Old Fort. Some sectionals, you’ll see a sub-.500 team in there. We didn’t get that luck of the draw. These were two very good teams.”
Calvert never trailed in this one, but the challenge was there early on. In a foreshadowing of the kind of balance the Senecas would enjoy throughout, Taylor Ritzler, Kate Brickner, Lindsay Bickley and Nicole Bickley got into the scoring act as the club inched ahead 14-11 in the first period.
Michaela Davidson’s post move pulled the Stockaders (15-8) to within one at 16-15 with 6:28 left in that half. But Old Fort didn’t score again for five full minutes.
Meanwhile, Brickner and Ritzler each hit 3-pointers and Nicole Bickley had a power putback in a 12-0 run that gave Calvert the cushion in needed at 28-15.
Jordan Magers’ baseline reverse trimmed the margin to 29-20 early in the third period but that was as close as Old Fort would ever get.
Calvert finished the quarter with a 14-4 burst that pushed the margin to 43-24 at the quarter break.
The Stockaders upped the pressure in the fourth period and worked Calvert for 10 of its 18 turnovers for the game in closing one last time to 43-31.
That had Tim Ritzler calling for time. The emphasis was a layups-only approach. The Senecas responded by going 5-for-5 from the field in applying the finishing touch.
“We’ve been close a couple times. This just feels awesome,” said Brickner, who hit a couple 3-pointers in scoring 10 points. “To finally get (the sectional championship) my senior year, that’s all I wanted. That was my goal from Day One – to cut down nets. Hopefully, we can do it a couple more times.”
Taylor Ritzler led the Senecas with 15 points. Lindsay Bickley added 13 and Nicole Bickley checked in with 11.
Senior Samantha Beckley was scoreless, but her nine rebounds were an example of Tim Ritzler’s everything-counts approach.
“That’s her job – to score if the opportunity is there, but mainly to rebound,” he said. “All the way down the line, everybody came in and did their job. That’s what it takes.”
Magers had nine points to lead Old Fort. Alli Adelsperger and Mackenzie Ward each added eight and Peyton Miller chipped in seven for the Stockaders, who won 14 more games than last year and did so with no seniors on the roster.
“We lost the game, but we accomplished a lot,” coach Jennifer Magers said. “In preseason, we were picked for last and we finished tied for fourth.
“Calvert played well and I hope they go a long, long way,” she said. “But I’m excited about our team. These girls didn’t want it to end. I’m ready for the next 30 days, the dead period, to be over so we can get right back at it.”
The opening game was more of a grinder than perhaps the 21-2 Blue Jackets are accustomed. New Riegel’s pressure game drew 28 turnovers from the Flyers (15-8), but the impact was lessoned because the Blue Jackets had 23 miscues of their own.
“You have to give credit to them for some of that, some of it might have been having nine days off and maybe a little tournament jitters,” New Riegel coach Steve Lucius said. “Twenty-three turnovers, that’s way too many. But I thought we got it going a little better in the second half.”
New Riegel led 28-15 at halftime and put the game on ice with a 14-8 run in the third period.
Much of that centered around point guard Kara Scherger, who led New Riegel with 18 points, including 10 free throws, and seven assists.
“I don’t think (the layoff) hurt that much because we’ve really been working hard in the gym this week,” Scherger said. “But we had problems with our decision-making and handling the ball in the first half, mostly decision-making.
“The big thing (in the second half) was to get penetration,” she said. “I knew if I could get by, I was either going to get fouled or get a layup.”
Taylor Kirian added 10 points and Taylor Arbogast had nine points and a game-high 10 rebounds for the Blue Jackets.
More important though was the way they got it done at the other end. New Riegel limited the Flyers to single figures in every quarter.
“We worked hard on our defense all week maybe at the expense of our ballhandling,” Lucius said with a chuckle. “But really, I thought our defense was stellar. We’ve worked hard at it and I was proud of our defense tonight. I think the girls are taking pride in it, too.”
“We knew it would be tough to handle their pressure. It’s something we worked on all week,” said St. Paul coach Vicky Mahl, who played her college ball at Heidelberg in the mid-90s.
“We did some good things against it, but we also had some unforced errors.”
Lydia Ott had 10 points and Caitlin Good added seven to pace the Flyers.