Flyers hold off surging Hemminger, Senecas

PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE Calvert's Claire Thompson puts up a shot as teammate Emma Prince (10) looks on during the game against Norwalk St. Paul in Tiffin Tuesday.

Norwalk St. Paul was in control of the entire game with Calvert Tuesday. The Senecas led just once in the third quarter, but every time St. Paul made a run, the Senecas responded.

However, in the end, they ran out of time, losing 38-32.

St. Paul’s pressure defense was too much for the Senecas to overcome as it forced 23 Calvert (1-2) turnovers. It just couldn’t convert on the other end making shots or free throws as the Flyers (2-0) were just 7 of 18 from the charity stripe.

“We have capabilities to do many different things and I told the girls that we are going to find out what is working on any given night and then stick with it,” Flyers coach Vicky Mahl said. “Tonight, pressure did get to us (20 turnovers) and it looked like only our second game. We haven’t played since the 25th.

“We just couldn’t make any shots. We couldn’t throw a ball in the ocean for a while there. It’s just a matter of telling the girls to keep doing what they’re doing and keep shooting because they will eventually drop. I’m just very proud of our defensive effort with our press. We have some things to work on in our zone, but the press they chose tonight, we executed.”

Calvert, like it did last time out against Fremont St. Joe, got off to a really slow start offensively, down 9-2 after the first stop.

When the Senecas needed some scoring and a spark, it was junior point guard Shelby Hemminger who stepped up.

Hemminger scored seven of her game-high 20 points in the second period to get Calvert back in the game. The Senecas trailed 15-11 at the half.

“We’ve been slow out of the gate the last two games. Last week, (St. Joe) got up 16-0 on us,” Calvert coach Pat Herron said. “It’s been kind of our MO and we have to break that habit somehow. The girls just play hard all the time and everyone works well together.

“I bet we shot about 25 percent on layups. If we would have made 10 layups, we would’ve won. It’s those kids of things we have to get going. First half they got a few too many offensive rebounds. We are position at times, but just can’t grab the ball. If we keep playing some good defense we’ll win some games.”

Calvert’s Emma Prince made a pair of free throws, St. Paul’s Lauren Chandler made a jumper and then Prince hit a jump shot to get the Senecas within 17-15 to start the second half. Hemminger gave the Senecas their only lead of the contest, drilling a triple with 4:36 left in the third quarter. St. Paul’s Danielle Smith responded with a trey of her own, but Hemminger tied the contest at 20 on a pair of free throws with two minutes left in the frame.

However, the Flyers ended the third quarter with a 6-0 run to gain the lead and capture all momentum.

Hemminger tried to keep the Senecas in it by scoring Calvert’s first eight points of the fourth quarter, but a plethora of turnovers down the stretch hindered Calvert’s offense.

“(Hemminger) did a nice job tonight. I’m not gonna say great because she had a bunch of turnovers tonight,” Herron said. “She got a little frustrated with the press tonight when she usually doesn’t with that press. It is what it is. She’d throw one and then someone else would throw one away. It was that kind of thing.

“Shelby … you can’t say enough about Shelby because she always gets after it and I talked to all of the girls about when they are driving — we had some nice drives — but you have to drive to the basket to score, not to draw the foul. That’s a bonus. We were just throwing the ball up last game and they weren’t calling anything.”

St. Paul was sharing the ball as eight players scored. Morgan Baxter, Megan Hammersmith and Meredith Dilger all had six points.

“We tell the girls to be patient and if it’s not there, don’t force it,” Mahl said. “Sometimes this group — we are young with only three seniors — this is a group that likes each other and wants to spread the ball around. It’s kind of nice to see.

“It’s going to take time for us because we are young, but as long as we’re getting better every time out, that’s all I can ask from them.”

Backing Hemminger was Prince with eight points.

“We got stomped by St. Joe last week, but their coach after the game cornered me and asked me how I got these girls to play so hard and to never quit,” Herron said. “I told the girls that after the game and it’s a hell of a compliment. They never quit and that’s what I want.”