Old Fort’s top-ranked defense cools off Calvert

There was no need for a special investigation. The difference was not hard to spot.

In a battle of the top two defenses in the River Division of the Sandusky Bay Conference, No. 1 clearly had the upper hand.

Old Fort held Calvert scoreless over a nearly 10-minute span and without a field goal for a little less than 14 minutes on the way to a 40-23 girls basketball win here Saturday afternoon.

The win improved Old Fort’s record to 8-12 and pushed the Stockaders over the .500 mark in league play at 5-4. Calvert fell to 4-15 and 0-10.

“We’re always telling the girls that offense brings crowds, but defense wins games,” Old Fort coach Jenny Ritzler said. “It’s been our goal all year to be sure to work hard on defense and we’re at the top of the league on defense. We’ve had a couple bad games, but it’s good to see us continually holding teams at the defensive end.”

Shelby Hemminger’s 3-pointer with 4:30 left in the first period trimmed Old Fort’s early lead to 6-5. Her next field goal, which was also Calvert’s next field goal, was also a 3-pointer.

But it came with 5:43 showing on the third-quarter clock.

Whitney Bilger’s trey and a couple free throws from Morgan Miller pushed the Stockader lead to 11-5 at the quarter break.

A three-point play by Miller and seven straight points by Madisyn Spencer highlighted a 13-2 second-quarter run to give Old Fort a 24-7 advantage at the half. Hemminger’s two foul shots provided the Seneca scoring.

Miller and Ashlyn Magers scored on drives and Bilger hit another from long range for a 31-7 edge before Hemminger, who scored Calvert’s first 10 points, hit her second 3-pointer.

“We missed three breakaway layups early. Those just kill you,” Calvert coach Pat Herron said. “We just weren’t making baskets. It’s been that way the whole year, but today, it seemed to be emphasized a little more because of the missed layups.

“They play really tough defense. There’s no doubt about that,” Herron said. “But we had some open shots that we couldn’t get to go down.”

Old Fort didn’t have its best offensive night, but at that point, it didn’t matter. The Stockaders shot 25 percent from the field overall and from 3-point range. But they had a 44-26 advantage in rebounding and they limited the Senecas to 8 for 37 from the field.

Bilger led the winners with 14 points with Spencer and Miller adding eight and seven, respectively. The latter pair were dominant inside with Miller grabbing 12 rebounds and Spencer 10.

“We’ve had decent balance in scoring. We’ve shown improvement at the offensive end,” Ritzler said. “The thing is, Calvert is up there defensively in the league as well.

“We’ve been solid defensively most of the year,” she said. “We need to be playing our best basketball overall right now. That’s what we’re after.”

Hemminger led Calvert 12 points and seven rebounds. Emma Prince added seven points, including a 3-pointer.