|Kalida ‘D’ stymies Jefferson|
|Monday, December 17, 2012 3:39 PM|
By JIM METCALFE
KALIDA — Jefferson head boys basketball coach Marc Smith fully expected what Kalida’s defensive game plan would be come Saturday night in their non-conference tussle at the Wildcat Den; use a variety of zones to shut down junior forward Ross Thompson inside and force his Wildcats to shoot from the perimeter.
Knowing what to expect and executing against it are two different things as the Red and White found out in faltering 38-29.
The story: 9-of-35 shooting from the floor, including 4-of-22 downtown, for 25.7 percent. Freshman Trey Smith led the offense with nine points and senior Zach Ricker added eight, while Thompson was limited to four (10 boards).
“I have coached here for eight years and it’s what we see when we go against Kalida. They take their chances that you won’t hit a lot of outside shots; they play the percentages and it works for them,” Coach Smith explained. “We just couldn’t make shots. Pretty much anyone we have out there has a green light and I know they are capable of shooting well form the perimeter. As the game wore on, the confidence went down, too, as you’d expect from young kids; we even tried to attack the basket and get to the line but that wasn’t very successful, either. We kept preaching at every dead ball and timeout to keep shooting with confidence. We tried inside-out and penetrate-and-kick and we simply couldn’t knock down shots.”
It wasn’t as if the home Wildcats (3-2) were hot from the floor; they canned 14-of-36 (2-of-12 long range) for 38.9 percent, with senior Austin Horstman notching 10 and sophomore Devin Kortokrax adding nine.
“We’re a work in progress. We try to build form the defensive end anyway because we aren’t a good offensive team right now,” long-time Kalida coach Dick Kortokrax said. “We’re thankful for any win right now and that’s no slight to Jefferson; they play awfully hard and Coach Smith does a great job with them but they are going through the same things as we are as far as having young and inexperienced teams. We can compete well with teams going through the same situation as we are, like Perry.”
Smith scored the first five points of the night: a 3-ball and two free throws; in the first minute before Horstman got the hosts on the board to jump-start an 8-0 run to give Kalida the lead for good on a jumper from the left elbow by Kortokrax at the 4:04 mark. Kortokrax drove for a deuce at 1:58 for a 10-7 edge before Smith hit an off-balance runner at 1:40 for a 10-9 Jefferson deficit.
Kalida used a mix of 1-2-2 and 2-3 zones and a 2-2-1 nuisance press most of the way, while Delphos employed a man-to-man scheme. Both teams ended up needing to run a deliberate offense as very few shots were uncontested.
However, that only led to a Jeffcat drought that lasted 5:44. By the time they scored again on a free throw by Smith at 3:56, Kalida’s lead was 16-10. When junior Randy Zeller hit a third-chance putback at the 3-minute mark, the Maroon and White’s lead was 18-10. However, junior Austin Jettinghoff hit a trifecta at 2:32 and Thompson a putback with 2.1 ticks on the board to get within 18-15.
Kalida slowly — very slowly — built up a 24-15 lead in the third canto as the Jeffcats missed all eight shots they took in the period and turned it over three times (10 for the game versus Kalida’s 8). Kalida started to get into a bit of foul trouble as three starters picked up their third fouls during the span and also struggled shooting the ball against the Delphos man “D”, hitting 2-of-8. Jefferson’s only point in the stanza was a free toss by Ricker at 1:11 to account for the 24-16 scoreboard as the game went to the fourth period.
The visitors tried to rally and began to heat up some in the finale. They hit three of their first five shots: Jettinghoff triple, Ricker 8-footer and Ricker 3-ball; to get within 27-24 at the 4:22 mark. However, they could get no closer. A key 4-0 mini-spurt: baskets by Horstman and senior Cody Mathew; put Jefferson behind 33-24 and, having been assessed only three fouls the second half to that point (9 for the game versus 15), were forced to foul to extend the game and get Kalida into the 1-and-1. Kalida notched 5-of-6 in the last 1:36 (9-of-10 for the game for 90% versus 7-of-13 for Jefferson for 53.8%).
Jefferson (1-4) totaled 24 caroms (8 offensive) as sophomore Nick Fitch added six. They will visit Ottoville for a varsity-only contest starting 7 p.m. Tuesday.
“Defensively, our effort was outstanding after having a terrible effort against Crestview last night. Our defense gave us a chance to win this game despite our struggles offensively,” Coach Smith added. “We did a nice job on Horstman inside. We handled the ball fairly well and we rebounded with them. We did a lot of good things tonight except for shooting and the effort was outstanding.”
Kalida secured 27 boards (6 offensive) as Horstman grabbed six and junior Adam Langhals five. Kalida visits Lincolnview Friday.
“Once we started to get to the line, we hit them. We were 16-of-20 against Pandora-Gilboa the other night, another team in a rebuilding mode,” Coach Kortokrax added. “We play awfully hard — that can’t be questioned on either team’s part — but for us, we need to play smarter. Again, that is part of the process we are going through right now.”
In junior varsity action, Kalida’s moved to 5-0 with a 54-37 conquest.
Freshman Trent Gerding led the victors with 11.
For the Jeffcats (1-4), freshman Dalton Hicks netted 11.