Ronski provides burst off the bench as Calvert upends Fliers
Calvert coach Jon Otterbacher would not go as far to say his Senecas had something to prove.
But, Calvert represented the River Division when it took on Clyde out of the Lake Division in a Sandusky Bay Conference crossover Wednesday.
The Senecas got 20 big points off the bench from Blake Ronski and never trailed in a 55-48 win over Clyde.
“It is a friendly rivalry,” Otterbacher said. “They are a good, quality Division II program. Us being Division IV does not really mean anything. We expect to win those games, we expect to compete and play at a high level.”
Ronski started his night with three 3s for Calvert (7-2) in a four-minute span.
“Blake looked to score,” Otterbacher said. “The first part of the season he was just catching and trying to be apart of the game. We have talked to him that if he was going to be in the game, he had to be looking to shoot and score. He has done that in the last couple of games.”
The Senecas raced out to a 7-0 lead before Caden Berger hit a triple for the Fliers (3-3). Calvert then scored the next six points and back-to-back 3-pointers by Ronski made it 19-5 with 2:03 left in the first quarter.
Clyde struggled with the pressure in the opening eight minutes, committing seven of their 14 turnovers in the first quarter.
“We knew we were getting the 1-2-2 zone,” Fliers’ coach Ryan Fretz said. “We have been working on it and we saw it in the last game from Tiffin Columbian. Tonight, we did not execute. When you do not execute against a team like Calvert, they are going to make you pay.”
In the second quarter, a bucket by Nick Seifert kept the Senecas ahead, 26-14. Clyde finished the quarter strong, as Berger tallied two baskets and Carson Rieman scored to draw the Fliers within 27-20 at halftime.
“It took a quarter to adjust to the press,” Fretz said. “We had our two-guard set, but our back guard was not staying behind. We ran what we were supposed to run to start, but once our cuts were made, there is a second execution part to it that we were not executing.”
The play from Clyde carried into the third quarter. Berger scored while Jack Morrison and Jaden Cook split two free throws. As Calvert struggled offensively, the Fliers continued to play well as a driving layup by Rieman brought Clyde within a point.
But, the Senecas, as they seemed to do all night, had the answer. Garrett Spaun canned a 3 and even after Berger hit a triple for the Fliers, Calvert scored the next six points for a 36-29 lead.
“Clyde is very athletic,” Otterbacher said. “We knew that their key is the dribble-drive offense. We had to squeeze the drive as much as we could. If they hit the 3s, we were screwed anyways, so we tried to take away the drive the best we could.”
The Senecas even opened the lead back up to double digits (40-30) early in the fourth quarter after consecutive scores by Ronski. The Fliers made their last push later in the quarter.
Calvert led, 48-39, but Berger made a 3 and Kaiden Olson converted two free throws off of a steal, but Ronski’s baseline jumper made it 50-44 with 1:42 left. The margin only slipped as low as five points the rest of the way.
“The first quarter is where things went wrong,” Fretz said. “The small court we were prepared for. We are a young team with a lot of varsity inexperience. Tonight, we did not show up ready to play and the first quarter showed it.”
Berger paced Clyde with 15 points while Morrison had seven points and seven rebounds. The Fliers are just over a month removed from a football state championship and Fretz acknowledged his squad is still trying to find its footing.
“I think that is a month to two-month process,” Fretz said. “We are kind of getting there. We have flashes of it.”
Spaun tallied 14 points for the Senecas, who have now won four in a row after a conference loss to Fremont St. Joseph. Seifert tallied a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds.
“Our half-court 1-2-2 confused them a little bit,” Otterbacher said. “We do not try to get steals out of it. It is more to slow the other team down and make them take their time. I think they were getting frustrated.”