Calvert makes key 3s to stop St. Joe

Calvert only made three 3-pointers, but two of them were huge momentum stoppers.

Lexi White’s triple to end the half and a trey by Sydney Johnson in the third quarter killed a run that Fremont St. Joe had made.

In the end, the Senecas forced St. Joe into 28 turnovers and used 17 points from Shelby Hemminger to top the Streaks 60-39 in Sandusky Bay Conference River Division action on Saturday.

“We told them at halftime that they needed to raise that competitive edge,” Calvert coach Mitchell Gardner said. “We knew we have a really strong set of guards and athletes up front. We talked at halftime about getting up in the passing lanes and the girls responded well.”

Gardner did not go as far as to call it an upset, though. St. Joe, the defending league champions, was picked second, splitting the first-place votes with New Riegel in a preseason poll by local media. The Senecas were picked second-to-last.

“We talked about it,” Gardner said. “I pulled them in at the end of practice the day the polls were released. I told them right now it was what people think of them. We knew we were not the same team as last year. I wanted them to come out and make a statement.”

In the second quarter, Calvert (2-0 overall, 1-0 SBC) surged ahead, 26-12 on the strength of 17 straight points. Two free throws by Evelyn Wright for the Streaks (1-2, 0-1) stopped the 6:37 scoreless drought. Emily Militello hit a 3 and after a score by Emma White, Militello and Kimmie Burns each hit 3-pointers to draw St. Joe within 28-23. But, Lexi White was good from the top of the arc to push Calvert back ahead by eight points at halftime.

“That was big,” Gardner said of White’s 3. “The same thing happened in the season opener — we got out to a big lead then they cut it close. Her 3 was incredible. She is an incredible shooter. It helped with her confidence too.”

St. Joe coach Eric Simon acknowledged the triple by White was a backbreaker.

“It stole all the momentum, I thought,” Simon said. “We have got a group of girls that have not played a lot of basketball. They get down on themselves.”

The Senecas’ stiff defense continued its excellent play into the third quarter. Hemminger split two free throws and Lexi White scored consecutive baskets to push the lead to 36-23. But, St. Joe again made a push. A 9-2 run for the Streaks, capped by a Militello triple, brought St. Joe back within six points.

Lexi White’s 3 extended the lead, and a score from Emma White, coupled with another split of two free throws by Hemminger helped Calvert to a 44-33 lead after three quarters. St. Joe committed 11 turnovers in the quarter.

“I do not think it was anything Calvert did,” Simon said. “We just did not respond. They were mental mistakes more than anything. It was nothing Calvert did. We were ready for it. We just did not handle it.”

The Streaks never drew within the 11-point margin in the fourth quarter. Hemminger’s three-point play opened the scoring and Hannah Burns added another three-point play off an offensive rebound for a 50-35 lead.

“We put in a 1-3-1 zone knowing we have the strong set of athletes,” Gardner said. “We baited some cross-court passes, knowing we had the personal that could step up and get the steal.”

Calvert used a 7-0 run early in the first quarter, but St. Joe responded and took its biggest lead of three points at 12-9. Emma White and Hemminger each scored to help the Senecas to a one-point lead after one quarter.

“Lexi White was in the middle of the 1-3-1 zone and she has such a nice basketball IQ,” Gardner said.

Johnson added consecutive buckets to open the second quarter. Hemminger made two free throws, hit a jumper, and watched as Ashlyn Jones scored for a 23-12 lead. Hemminger then stole the next St. Joe pass, scored, was fouled and made the free throw.

“Shelby is just a leader,” Gardner said. “The whole program looks up to her. Shelby can get thrown on the floor and get up with a smile on her face. She is a good shooter and she can get to the rim.”

Mallary Nielsen grabbed a team-high eight rebounds for the Senecas while Lexi White finished with 11 points and five rebounds.

Militello hit four 3-pointers on her way to 14 points for the Streaks.