Bigger Redmen handle Senecas

PHOTO BY REBECCA PADULA Bellevue’s Trey Ruhlman drives through Calvert’s defense Mitch Nielsen (3) and Josh Recker Friday.

BELLEVUE — Calvert was right with Bellevue for a little while Friday night in the season opener for both teams, but once 6-foot-5 Caleb Marshall and returning all-Ohio guard Trey Ruhlman started to dominate, the Redmen took off and buried the Senecas 64-45.

Marshall and the rest of the size Bellevue possesses as a Division II team bothered Calvert from the opening tip. Marshall scored 15 of his 23 points in the first half and Ruhlman ended with a game-high 27. No other Redmen had more than five points.

“We knew coming in they were going to be bigger, faster, stronger and more physical, so we talked about not making those mental mistakes and being mentally prepared at all times for everything they were going to throw at us,” Calvert coach Jon Otterbacher said. “We were doing enough to stay in the game, but fatigue set in a little bit and we started making bad decisions with the ball (14 turnovers).

“That’ll be one of the best 1-2 combos we’ll see all year. Marshall is big, strong, athletic and physical and gets after it on the boards. He was huge, especially in the first half to give them their lead they had. Ruhlman took a little time to get warmed up, but once he got going we couldn’t stay in front of him and that’s why he finished with more than 20.”

There were times in the first quarter it was easy to tell it was the season opener with some sloppy play and a lot of fouling, but as the game went on, so did the flow and Bellevue ran away.

The Redmen ended the first quarter on a 10-2 run to gain a 15-7 advantage heading into the second quarter. Calvert cut the lead to 21-17 after a Nic Somodi triple, but Bellevue ended the first half strong as Ruhlman hit a 3 with 21 seconds left and then made a tough runner in the lane as the buzzer sounded. The Senecas were still in it down just 32-22.

However, Ruhlman started the second half with a three-point play and Marshall added a layup to give the Redmen a quick 37-22 lead.

Down by 14 to start the fourth quarter, Somodi started the period with a bucket, but Ruhlman completely took over with 14 fourth-quarter points to put the game away.

“We thought (Ruhlman) was pressing a little bit to get his early and we just told him to keep playing and it’ll come to you,” Bellevue coach Ed Rich said. “We know he was going to come on strong for us. He didn’t have to have 20 points for us, but I knew he would be able to get his in the second half.

“I’ll be honest … I was nervous. People looked that we played Tiffin Calvert, who is in the smaller league, but I told my coaching staff that they’re pretty good. We had to play a solid game to beat these guys. They had a great game plan because whenever we’d call a certain offense they’d go to a 2-3 (zone), which took us out of our offense. That gave us fits early. We picked it up and found a way to get the win, so we’ll take it.”

Sophomore Nick Seifert was the driving force early for the Senecas with 15 of his 17 in the opening half.

“He played well in the first half especially as he carried us with 15 of our 22 points, so if he wasn’t doing what he was doing, we wouldn’t have been in the game,” Otterbacher said. “We got to have other players step up, though. We have to have our returning letterwinners be more productive and guys off the bench to step up. We didn’t get much from our 4-9 guys tonight, so we have to figure out ways to get them acclimated better and get some baskets.”

Somodi added 12 points for the Senecas, while Josh Recker finished with 10 points. Somodi, Recker and Hunter Hendrix all had six rebounds.

It doesn’t get any easier for the Senecas as they play D-II Clyde tonight at Heidelberg.

“We game plan the same for every game. We understand that they are two quality D-II programs, but we go in looking for ways to be successful,” Otterbacher said. “We hope we can keep it close until the end and then hope you can get a couple breaks.

“Clyde is very big, athletic and very skilled. It’s going to cause some issues on the boards probably again (today), so we will have to work on boxing out tomorrow morning. Hopefully we can rebound better than we did today.”