OTTAWA — Kalida’s quick start put Pandora-Gilboa in a hole it could never dig out of on Tuesday night.
The Wildcats used a double-digit run in the first quarter to gain a lead they never relinquished in a 55-39 victory over the Rockets in their Division IV sectional semifinal game at Ottawa-Glandorf.
Kalida (14-9) will take on No. 1 seed Miller City at 6:15 p.m. Friday at O-G in the sectional finals. Pandora-Gilboa ends its season 3-20.
Pandora-Gilboa’s Hunter Hovest scored the first basket of the game, but that was the only time the Rockets led. Following that basket, P-G went ice cold from the field in the half and Kalida heated up. The Wildcats went on a 13-0 run to gain a 13-2 lead with 2:31 remaining in the first quarter.
In that run, Kalida made 5-of-10 field goals with a 3-pointer by Devin Kortokrax while P-G missed six shots and committed two turnovers.
“You hope to have a good start; against a team with a losing record, you know they have nothing to lose,” Kalida coach Dick Kortokrax said. “I was appreciative of the fact that we came out and made them call a timeout when we had a (13-2) lead. Our start was really the key to the game.”
Kalida led 13-4 after one quarter and 30-14 at the half.
“We’ve struggled scoring the ball and to give up 30 points in the first half is tough for us to overcome,” P-G coach Logan Smith said. “We shot 7-of-28 in the first half. That was the difference. We had eight or nine shots right around the rim we missed. We worked hard, we just couldn’t finish a possession. And they got a lot of easy stuff in transition.”
The Rockets battled back in the second half with more aggressive play and by letting senior Seth Schmenk take over. Schmenk scored nine of his game-high 26 points in the third quarter, then followed that with seven more points early in the fourth quarter.
He sunk a 3-pointer at the 4:13 mark to cut Kalida’s lead to 45-36.
“He’s had some great moments this year,” Smith said. “We said we were going to put the ball in his hands, make or miss. It’s never good to end your career with a loss, but his performance tonight was a great way to end it.”
Kalida then zipped away for the win with a 10-3 run to end the game. Devin Kortokrax scored 20 points for the Wildcats and Randy Zeller scored 18 points.
“Schmenk was on fire,” Kortokrax said. “We couldn’t shut him off so we needed to answer with balance. We found two guys (Devin Kortokrax and Zeller) but not a third. So we were tit-for-tat after awhile.”
Another huge advantage for Kalida came from the free throw line. The Wildcats made 12-of-16 free throws while P-G only took four free throws the whole game, making three. Colin Fenstermaker also reached double-digits for the Rockets with 10 points.
Adam Langhals 2, Luke Langhals 4, Devin Kortokrax 20, Randy Zeller 18, Trent Gerding 2, Cole Miller 9.
Seth Schmenk 26, Hunter Hovest 2, Alex Osborn 1, Colin Fenstermaker 10.