Calvert guts out OT win at New Riegel
Down 13 at half, Senecas rally behind Seifert, Spaun to keep pace in conference
NEW RIEGEL — Things weren’t looking good for Calvert Friday night.
In a rivalry game at New Riegel — a tough place to play on any night — Calvert trailed 30-17 at the half after a lackluster 17-3 second quarter in favor of the Blue Jackets.
Beginning in the second half, the Senecas chipped away. They got to within 37-30 after three periods.
Late in the fourth quarter, freshman Garrett Spaun–who has been battling an ankle injury — saw his first extended minutes in a few weeks.
He didn’t shy away from the moment. Spaun drained three consecutive 3-pointers to give the Senecas their first lead since 11-10 early in the opening quarter.
Even after the game went into overtime, the freshman, along with sophomore Nick Seifert, carried the Senecas to a gritty 64-57 Sandusky Bay Conference River Division win.
“We talk almost every day about keeping high energy, effort and intensity up and those were our goals coming into today,” Calvert coach Jon Otterbacher said. “I don’t think we did a very good job of that in the second quarter, obviously, of capitalizing on where the openings were against their zone and they caught us on our heels quite a bit.
“They hit some shots and pretty much destroyed us in that second quarter. But like we have for most of the season, the team stepped up. They don’t care who scores. Seifert with 24 points, Spaun stepping up with 18, (Nic) Somodi had 10 … it’s a well-deserved team win where everyone contributed.”
The one constant was Seifert.
The 6-foot-3 guard drove the lane and finished with a lot of physical contact down low.
“It was just much more intense in the huddles. Coach was getting more on us, players get more on each other and expecting more. It caused us to just play harder and want the game more,” Seifert said of his team chipping away at a big New Riegel lead. “(Spaun) is a stud. He knows what he’s doing out there and he’s a heck of a player. He’ll be great for years to come, too.”
New Riegel (7-10, 5-6) got off to a good start with an 8-2 advantage after consecutive triples from Cole Noftz and Chris Acree. Calvert battled back and took a 14-13 lead at the end of the first after a Spaun trey to end the quarter.
Then New Riegel had one of its best quarters of the season, jumping out to a 22-14 advantage with a 9-0 run. Calvert’s Hunter Hendrix drained a 3 to stop the bleeding, but Bryce Hohman and Noftz swished treys to balloon the lead 28-17.
“We’ve had a few of these lately,” New Riegel coach Dave Losey said concerning close losses. “The Spaun kid played great down the stretch. He hit three 3s in the fourth, which you can’t understate how big those were. He had to make free throws down the stretch and he didn’t miss any of those either, so as a freshman, that’s quite the composure.
“Yeah, it’s disappointing and I feel terrible for the guys. They really did play well for a long time, it just kind of just fell apart of us there late.”
In the second half, New Riegel didn’t find as many open looks as Calvert ramped up the defensive pressure.
“We wanted to put a little more pressure on them and we just looked a little too uncomfortable in the second half,” Otterbacher said. “We got down by double digits, so we knew had to amp it up and hopefully force some shots.”
“They pressured us and it sped us up, so we couldn’t do what we wanted to do on the offensive end,” Losey said. They just drove it right down our throats. They made some shots and we didn’t make enough stops. It’s that simple.
“At the line we had our opportunities. I’m sure we made some (10-20), but it didn’t feel like enough. It’s just a terrible feeling. But I was proud of our effort and execution for 24 minutes. We really did well and a great job overall with our energy, especially in the first half.”
When Calvert needed a boost late, Seifert delivered as he had 18 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
“He’s a tough matchup. I think Nick (Reinhart) did a really good job on him and maybe we didn’t get enough help on his drives early where he was getting in too deep,” Losey said. “He’s long and he’s strong and he put some off the glass and when he didn’t get them to go he was getting to the line and converting. A lot of credit to him and Jon for putting him in the right spots to make good plays.”
Reinhart had an excellent game for the Blue Jackets with 19 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals, while Darek Feindel added 15 points and 11 boards. Hohman and Noftz both had eight points.
Seifert also pulled down nine rebounds for the Senecas, who improved to 13-5 overall and 10-1 in the SBC River. With Old Fort also winning Friday, both teams are tied atop the division at 10-1.
However, this week will be telling for the division as Calvert travels to Sandusky St. Mary Wednesday and then travels to Old Fort Friday.
“Every game is important and every game matters in the whole scheme of the season, but one game won’t bury us like our loss at the beginning of the year,” Otterbacher said. “We are right where we want to be. We will focus on St. Mary, which will be a tough place to play and then Friday we’ll think about later on. Right now, we’ll focus on Wednesday and see how we can stop them.”