By MICHAEL BURWELL
KALIDA — If there’s one word that best describes Kalida’s defense, it’s relentless.
And the relentless Wildcats put together another impressive defensive performance on Monday.
Kalida forced 18 of Ayersville’s 32 turnovers in the first half and the Wildcats allowed their lowest scoring output of the season in a 57-23 nonleague girls basketball win at Kalida’s Richard L. Kortokrax Court.
“Our defense has been there all year, and that’s what we hang our hat on,” Kalida coach Adam Huber said. “We know that travels if we’re not scoring, and with the schedule we play, we have to be able to guard and we’ve done a nice job.”
Kalida (9-7) entered Monday’s game allowing just 38.7 points per game. The Wildcats haven’t given up 60 points in a game this season and only allowed 50 or more points in three times.
Kalida’s full-court pressure defense helped the Wildcats jump out to a 30-16 halftime lead. However, when Ayersville was able to break the press, the Pilots (6-9) shot 7 of 12 in the half and used solid ball movement to score in the paint.
“We were actually kind of frustrated the first half. We thought we could have done a better job of not giving up those breakdowns when they did break our press,” Huber said. “It was better the second half, obviously we didn’t give up so many easy points. But I guess when you only hold a team to 16 in a half you should be happy, but we were a little frustrated with the ones we gave up.”
Kalida’s Kara Siefker, a 5-foot-8 senior guard, drained four 3-pointers en route to a game-high 15 points. Senior post Sarah Klausing (5-11) scored nine of her 12 points in the first half and senior guard Taylor Lucke scored six of her nine points in the third.
The Wildcats shot 50 percent (21 of 42) from the floor, including 39 percent (9 of 23) from 3-point range. Five Kalida players made a 3-pointer.
“It was pleasant to see, we had multiple girls hit some threes from outside,” Huber said. “We knew we had a size advantage inside, and Kara’s been close. We thought maybe she’d have a break-out game and fortunately tonight, she had it. She had a few 3s for us, so it was good to see.”
Kalida had five players score during a 12-0 second quarter run that put the Wildcats up 30-12 with 2:26 left in the half. Lucke found Siefker for a 3-pointer during the run; Halie Kaufman found Klausing for an easy bucket on a pick-and-roll and Klausing found McKayla Maag for a 3 as well.
Ally Samlow scored nine points off the bench to lead Ayersville. Taylor Addington and Meghan Engel both added five points.
Addington had three assists in the second quarter. The sophomore forward found Samlow for a pair of buckets in the paint off nice bounce passes early in the quarter, and she later found Kryshel Dales for a bucket in the paint and scored off her own miss.
“She sees the floor very well, only being a sophomore and being left-handed, people don’t react to that a little too quick,” Ayersville coach Craig McCord said. “She’s got a lot of potential ahead of her, I’m excited for her and how she’s playing this year.
“We’re not real big. She gets in battles the best she can with the big girls, but she had a pretty good overall game.”
Kalida opened the third quarter on a 7-0 run and added an 8-0 surge later in the frame en route to taking a 45-21 lead.
Ayersville shot 30 percent (10 of 33) from the floor, including 0 of 11 from 3-point range. Ashlee Tressler had a game-high five rebounds as the Pilots had a 26-23 advantage on the glass.
“If you look at us all year long, our nemesis is we don’t shoot very well,” McCord said. “We’re shooting in the 20 percents and I don’t care who you play, you’re not going to win a lot of games shooting in the 20 percents.”
Kalida, which has traded wins and losses since starting the season 5-3, has losses to four state-ranked teams this season — No. 3 Ottawa-Glandorf and No. 8 Liberty-Benton in Division III; No. 1 Minster and No. 3 Ottoville in D-IV.
Huber said he’s hoping the tough schedule will pay off later in the season.
“We talk about it all the time. We hate to lose, but we don’t mind playing the good teams,” he said. “We want to prepare ourselves for down the road and we think that certainly helps us.”
Samlow 4-1–9, Addington 2-1–5, Engel 2-1–5, Eichler 1-0–2, Dales 1-0–2, Miller 0-0–0, Tressler 0-0–0, Greene 0-0–0. TOTALS: 10-33 3-6–23.
Siefker 5-1–15, S. Klausing 5-2–12, Lucke 3-1–9, Maag 2-0–5, Langhals 1-2–5, Wurth 2-0–4, Ki. Siebeneck 1-0–3, G. Klausing 1-0–2, Ka. Siebeneck 1-0–2, Kaufman 0-0–0. TOTALS: 21-42 6-10–57.
Ayersville 7 9 5 2 — 23
Kalida 13 17 15 12 — 57
3-Point GOALS: Ayersville 0-11; Kalida 9-23 (Siefker 4, Lucke 2, Maag, Langhals & Ki. Siebeneck 1).
rebounds: Ayersville 26 (Tressler 5); Kalida 23 (Wurth 4).
turnovers: Ayersville 32, Kalida 17.
junior varsity: Kalida, 29-23.
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