Hovis, Golden Bears oust Senecas from tourney

PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE Calvert's Mallary Nielson controls the ball against the defense of Gibsonburg's Katie Hovis (left) and Emily Roberts during the first round of the district tournament in Oak Harbor Wednesday evening.

OAK HARBOR — It was evident from the opening tip.

Wednesday’s Division IV postseason opener between Calvert and Gibsonburg meant something to the Golden Bears.

The Senecas beat Gibsonburg twice in the regular season. It was clear the Bears’ players hadn’t forgotten. Behind an 18-point, 13-rebound effort from Katie Hovis, Gibsonburg powered past Calvert in Oak Harbor, 49-30.

“They definitely came out with a little more energy,” said Calvert coach Mitchell Gardner. “You could tell off the bat that they came out … their bench was going nuts, their coach was into it, their players were clapping.”

Calvert, by contrast, was cold. It missed its first 12 shots from the floor, and was held scoreless for the contest’s first 6:49.

That allowed the Golden Bears to build an 11-0 lead.

“We were a little flat,” Gardner said.

The Golden Bears weren’t. They hit three 3-pointers in the opening quarter, and opened a 13-3 lead at the first stop.

“I’m very, very proud of our girls,” Gibsonburg coach Heather Hall said. “We followed the gameplan to a T.”

Part of that plan involved putting Emily Roberts on Calvert’s top scorer, Lexie White.

“I knew that she was their leading scorer, and I thought Emily did a great job on her and kind of took her out of the ballgame a little bit,” Hall said.

White finished with four points. But Calvert’s offensive struggles stretched across the team. The Senecas made just 12 of 52 field goal attempts in the loss.

“Of late, we haven’t really had a weird game like that, where nothing falls,” Gardner said. “I mean, we had five, six open layups and mid-range jumpers — wide open — that just would not fall. And (Gibsonburg) just came out and hit shots.”

Calvert found some offense early in the second quarter. Baskets by Sydney Johnson and White cut the Gibsonburg edge to 13-7. A jumper by Ashlyn Jones got Calvert within 15-9 with 4:07 left in the half.

But that was as close to Gibsonburg as Calvert got.

Hovis answered the spurt with a jumper and a 3, and the Golden Bears went to the half up 20-11.

“Katie has so much potential. She’s really turned it up in practice,” Hall said. “She’s really worked hard. It’s great with Katie, because she can play inside and outside, so she’s very hard to guard. I’m very proud of her.”

Gardner also praised Hovis.

“She really stepped up and had a heck of a game,” Gardner said. “We’ve done a pretty nice job, when we’ve played them previously, of shutting her down a little bit. And tonight, she was just playing with a different kind of energy. Hats off to her, she came out, and you could tell, she wanted that game bad.”

And later in the game, when Calvert’s defense focused on Hovis, the sophomore was able to feed senior Sydney Busdecker under the basket.

“When we catered towards her, (Hovis) did a nice job of dishing the ball across,” Gardner said. “She really broke down our defense. We were just a step slower than we normally are.”

Hovis fed Busdecker three times in the fourth, and Busdecker tuned the passes into layups.

“In a timeout, I had told Syd, I said, ‘Syd, you have the highest percentage shot on the block. You’re gonna get the block and you’re just going to continue to make layups for us,'” Hall said. “I’m so proud of Syd. She’s very deserving. She’s played for four years, she’s worked hard and I’m very happy for her.”

Calvert also was at a heavy disadvantage up front. Gibsonburg outrebounded it 46-33.

“We’ve worked on rebounding for the past two weeks,” Hall said. “I thought that we were really hitting people good and getting in good position.”

Gibsonburg improved to 7-16, and will take on Arcadia here Saturday.

Calvert finished at 11-12. It played without point guard Shelby Hemminger, who was injured late in the season.

Gardner was asked what he took away from this season, his first as Calvert coach.

“I’m just proud of the girls this season,” he said. “The experience and what they’ve taught me has been so much bigger than the game itself.”