By Jim Metcalfe
KALIDA - Lincolnview's boys basketball team was a two man show for the first 24 minutes of Monday night's non-league encounter at the Kalida High School.Unfortunately for the Lancers, the host Wildcats figured out how to slow them down enough and grabbed 54-48 victory.
The Wildcats (4-2) had a 36-32 lead over the Lancers (3-2) to start the fourth quarter and sophomore Chandler Adams, battling some foul trouble the whole way, scored the first points for the Lancers by anyone other than senior Kyle Williams or junior Justis Dowdy, hitting four free throws to knot the score at 36-36. There were two ties and five lead changes in the next four minutes, the final one on a back-door layin by junior Devin Kortokrax at the 2:30 mark that gave the hosts the lead for good.
Senior Randy Zeller hit two more free throws at 1:57 and when senior Joe Gerdeman laid one in off a feed from junior Luke Langhals, Kalida led 49-44. From then on, they hit 5-of-6 free throws to salt the game away.
"What it came down to was they made more plays than we did in the end. We were in position to win, but they made the plays down the stretch," Lancer coach Brett Hammons noted. "They did a nice job on Kyle and Justis and we constantly talk to the kids - like tonight - that other kids have to step up with confidence in those situations. It's a work in progress for us and we will keep working on it. It's still early in the season, but we are going to have to find a way."
Williams and Dowdy combined for six points in the final quarter.
Williams may not have ended well but he started on fire, scoring all 14 points for the Lancers in the opening period, including four three-point field goals.
On the other end, Kalida had four players get into the scoring column, led by five each from Kortokrax and Zeller, but Lincolnview took a 14-13 edge into the second quarter.
"You can sometimes expect a player to make big shots like Williams did in crucial situations, with adrenaline and emotion. You just don't expect it from the start. Some of those shots were NBA range," Kalida mentor Dick Kortokrax explained. "Our defensive effort just finally found a way to make things harder on him and forced other players to score."
Williams fired in a triple on the first possession of the second period: his five points and Dowdy's additional five twice gave the blue-and-gold the game's largest lead at nine. Back came the hosts with a 9-0 spurt in the next 2:45 to tie the game at 24 on a Gerdeman mid-lane turnaround. A three-point play by Dowdy Lancers a 27-24 halftime bulge.
There were three lead changes and one tie in the third period, the last at 32-32 on a three-ball from the left corner by Williams at 2:49. However, Kortokrax put in a deuce and Zeller a putback to make it 36-32 to end the third.
The game featured few turnovers with just six for the Lancers and eight for the Wildcats. However, Kalida shot a better percentage: 18-of-39, 3-of-12 from long range, for 46.2 percent versus 15-of-49 for the guests, 7-of-18 beyond the arc, for 30.6 percent.
As well, Kalida won the battle off the glass 31-27 (10-10 offensive). Senior Conner McCleery led the guests with nine and senior Eli Farmer had seven.
"Kyle and Justis carried us for three quarters. We just have to figure out as a group that if things aren't going your way early, you keep playing and work through it," Hammons added. "Their defense started to force the ball from those two and when you shoot (30) percent, it's going to be hard to win. Plus, we got outrebounded and that was a major key to this game as well."
"Offensively, we struggled tonight. We were coming off a tough loss Saturday to O-G and we had only one day to get mentally prepared for tonight," Coach Kortokrax added. "We struggled in the fourth quarter Saturday night and it was the same thing in the first half tonight. We were stagnant the first half. We talked to the kids at the half and did a much better job of making ourselves tougher to defend the second half."
In junior varsity action, Lincolnview put three in double digits to grab a 47-35 triumph.
Derek Youtsey led the victors with 12, Josh Leiter 11 and Troy Thompson 10. Trent Gerding was high scorer for the hosts with 10.
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Lincolnview (48) Austin Leeth 0-0-0, Kyle Williams 8-4-26, Logan Miller 0-0-0, Justis Dowdy 4-3-12, Chandler Adams 1-4-6, Conner McCleery 2-0-4, Eli Farmer 0-0-0, Hayden Ludwig 0-0-0. Totals 8-7-11/14-48
Kalida (54) Adam Langhals 1-0-2, Luke Langhals 1-0-2, Devin Kortokrax 5-4-15, Randy Zeller 5-7-19, Logan Roebke 0-0-0, Cole Miller 0-1-1, Joe Gerdeman 6-3-15. Totals 15-3-15/22-54.
Three-point goals: Lincolnview, Williams 6, Dowdy; Kalida, Zeller 2, Kortokrax.