Old Fort wins big, Calvert holds off Jackets to advance
FOSTORIA – Calvert coach Ted Willman said it was his team’s best game in two years.
Old Fort star Hunter Perry’s eyes lit up when asked about his squad’s defensive press.
Both had reasons to be excited here Friday, as Calvert and Old Fort each advanced to next week’s Division IV district tournament in Kansas.
Behind Perry’s 32 points, 12 rebounds, seven steals and seven assists, the Stockaders overwhelmed St. Wendelin, 87-55.
In the second game, the Senecas got 17 points and four 3-pointers from Drew Ritzler, breaking away from the Blue Jackets late for a 64-51 win.
With those results, Calvert advances to play Ottawa Hills in the first game of Tuesday’s district doubleheader at Lakota High. Old Fort’s game with Toledo Christian will follow.
Willman said there were three things the Senecas needed to do to make the date with Ottawa Hills.
“We had to own the boards, we had to take care of the ball, and we had to take good shots,” he said.
His team did all three, but New Riegel kept it close most of the way.
The Blue Jackets – and specifically Jake Dryfuse – came out hot. He hit two 3-pointers in the game’s first four minutes. When teammate Travis Williams followed with a trey from the corner, the Blue Jakets held a 16-11 lead with 3:40 left in the first half.
Calvert answered with an 8-0 run. Ritzler buried his second trey of the game to make it 17-16 Calvert, then Michael Bennett scored a layup to put his team up three.
The rest of the first half see-sawed, with each squad grabbing momentum. A jumper from the paint by Ritzler just before the break gave Calvert a 35-32 advantage.
New Riegel coach Dave Losey said his team shot extremely well from the outside in the first half.
And that troubled him.
“We got a little 3-happy,” Losey said. “When (making 3s is) not your game, you’re bound to cool off.”
Dryfuse was brilliant in the first 16 minutes, making three treys and scoring 15 points.
But Calvert shut him – and for the most part the New Riegel offense – down after that. Drfuse had just two points after the break.
“We didn’t think about (Dryfuse) specifically,” Willman said of the halftime adjustments. “It was just getting the guys in the right place to take the plays away.”
Calvert started the third quarter on an 8-3 spurt, taking a 43-35 edge after Ritzler downed another 3 with 2:46 left.
Meanwhile, New Riegel struggled. It made three free throws, but missed its first eight shots from the field.
Then, for a moment, it looked like the Blue Jackets were right back in it.
Williams hit a 3, then New Riegel got a steal. A Michael Kirian putback cut the Calvert lead to 43-40.
“Then we lost Ritzler, he got behind us,” Losey said. “I don’t know how many (3s) he missed, but he didn’t miss many.”
Ritzer’s triple bumped Calvert’s lead back up to six. Kirian answered with a three-point play, but Calvert got through the run, went to the line 17 times in the fourth quarter, and pulled away.
Austin Ball added 12 points for the Senecas, while Austin Perry had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Bennett, the star of the sectional semifinal win over Vanlue, had 13 points and five rebounds.
Willman praised his team for sticking with it after some rough games.
“I told them, ‘We can still cut nets down,'” he said.
That ended up being prophetic.
Tim Ink had 13 points for New Riegel, while Michael Kirian scored seven and picked up eight rebounds.
In the first game, Old Fort took control in a hurry. Employing a press that forced the Mohawks into 13 first-quarter turnovers, the Stockaders scored the game’s first seven on two baskets from Carey and a 3 from Maison Steyer.
St. Wendelin’s Gabe Walters answered with a basket, but Steyer came back with another 3. The Stockaders led 27-9 at the first stop and never looked back.
Nick Root and Peter Campbell each scored 15 points for the Mohawks, while Walters scored 14. And despite a run in the third quarter, St. Wendelin struggled.
“We dug ourselves a big hole and couldn’t get out,” said St. Wendelin coach Jim Rutter.
While Perry was the leader, Old Fort had two other players score in double figures: Steyer, with 14 and Adam Alexander with 12.
“In the second half (St. Wendelin) brought another defender out on me,” Perry said. “That opened other people up.”
But it was Perry, who finished with 12 baskets, four of which were 3s, that was the key.
“He did a great job, what he has been doing all year, everything,” Old Fort coach Eric Hoover said.