Kalida now has an opportunity to ‘win one for the gipper’. The Wildcats cruised past Cleveland Heights Lutheran East 57-46 in the Division IV state semifinals Thursday and long-time head coach Dick Kortokrax – the OHSAA record holder for coaching wins – will coach one more game for the Wildcats in the final year of his contract.
COLUMBUS – Kalida now has an opportunity to ‘win one for the gipper’.
The Wildcats cruised past Cleveland Heights Lutheran East 57-46 in the Division IV semifinals in the 87th Annual State Boys Basketball Tournament at Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center Thursday and long-time head coach Dick Kortokrax – the OHSAA record holder for coaching wins – will coach one more game for the Wildcats in the final year of his contract.
“We weren’t perfect by any means but we did come out with the greatest respect for Lutheran East,” Kortokrax said. “We knew they had a fantastic record and they had a fine record against Division I schools.”
Kalida (23-4) was paced by senior forward Scott Schnipke with 24 points on 7-of-10 shooting.
Senior guard Justin Kahle added ten points.
“You’ve got to play both ends of the floor and we take special pride now in playing at the defensive end of the floor,” said Kortokrax. “We’re not the tallest team and we’re not always pleased as coaches with our rebounding but we talk about it constantly and how important it is to the game.”
Kalida out-rebounded Lutheran East 31-23.
“We need to take care of the ball and we have done a good job of that,” Kortokrax said. “Therefore we are getting the shots, especially the ones we need.”
The Wildcats had 10 turnovers in the game but shot 50 percent from the floor.
Lutheran East (23-3) battled back and forth in the first quarter Kalida but the Wildcats got some separation in the second quarter taking a 32-20 lead into halftime.
The Falcons held Kalida to just six points in the third quarter but Lutheran East was unable to capitalize shooting a dismal 38 percent from the floor in the game.
“I am extremely proud of my team,” Lutheran East head coach Roger McClinton said. “This was a very good basketball team – the best I have had in my six years
“But we did not shoot the ball very well. You can’t win very many basketball games with that percentage.”
Senior forward Ladell Trotty had 18 points and eight rebounds for Lutheran East and senior post William Felder had ten points and five rebounds.
Lutheran East averaged 72 points per game this season.
“With the defense (Kalida was) playing, we did not penetrate the zone,” McClinton said. “We did not penetrate that zone in the first half. In the second half we were a little more successful but the shots just didn’t fall for us. Nothing would go in the basket. There was a lid on it.”
Kalida will take on the winner of the Ada-Oak Hill semifinal match up Saturday and is aiming for its second state championship in school history.
Kalida lost to Ada 56-48 in the regular season.