Fans packed Clyde’s gym Tuesday night for the highly anticipated annual showdown between the Fliers and non-conference rival Bellevue.
Unfortunately, the game failed to live up to the hype, for either team.
While the Fliers (14-0) won in convincing fashion, 60-44 over the Lady Red (10-3), they had to do so without their starting point guard Lexi Weber, who came down hard on her knee early in the first quarter and never returned.
“I don’t think we’ll know anything until (today),” Clyde coach John Cahill said. “Obviously it wasn’t good the way she went down. I would gladly have Bellevue win and have her crying healthy because we lost, but it is what it is and we will find out more (today).
“We didn’t play particularly well, but we played with a lot of courage,” he added. “We turned the ball over a lot and then when Lexi got hurt I think the mental part of it happened. If you watch our kids play, I think it really shows how close they are on the court. When one of them goes down, it’s hard. I could have cried carrying her across the court. They gutted up and played well and found a way to win”
While the Fliers looked to be playing with heavy hearts, Bellevue didn’t look like it showed up to play at all.
“We looked bad today” Bellevue coach Ryan Orshoski said. “Clyde was just so much more poised and confident than we were in this environment” “And maybe they should be,” Orshoski added. “But if we want to play to the standard that we want to play at, we’ve got to step up and show up in a game like this. It just didn’t happen”
Amanda Cahill led all scorers with 29 points and eight rebounds, while Bellevue standout Carly Santoro was held to seven points. Clyde’s Kelsey Michaels finished with a double double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Fliers shot 42 percent from the field on the night.
“The score was probably closer than that game actually was” Orshoski said. “That’s what’s disappointing is that we didn’t show up”
Clyde jumped out to a 9-0 lead, capped of by a 3-pointer from Weber, her only points of the night.
Bellevue called a timeout, and scored the next five points out of it, but Clyde closed out the quarter on a 5-2 run to go up 14-7 after the first eight minutes.
The Fliers broke open the score in the second, shooting 7-of-10 from the field to take a 32-20 lead into halftime.
Bellevue, meanwhile, shot just 26 percent.
Shelby Stamm opened up the second half with five straight points to cut the deficit to seven points, but Amanda Cahill responded with five points of her own and Clyde close out the third on a 10-4 run.
An Amanda Cahill jumper to start the final quarter made it a 20-point game, and the Lady Red trailed by at least 10 for the rest of the game.
“They actually were very physical early, and I thought we did a better job in the second half rebounding the ball,” Cahill said. “We really wanted to press some more, but then Lex got hurt and we kind of got out of it”
Orshoski talked about his disappointment in the post play. The Lady Red couldn’t connect on any of their usual go-to post plays, while Clyde capitalized on numerous offensive rebounds.
“That’s a combination of Kelsey Michaels wanting it more than us and Amanda Cahill being 6-foot-2,” he said. “I don’t want to discredit Clyde. They are much better than us right now”
Whitney Schalk was the Lady Red’s lone bright spot. Schalk came off the bench and scored 16 points, grabbed three board and had a steal.
“Whitney Schalk is one kid who could be extremely down on the staff, I mean she’s been out of the starting lineup the last couple of weeks and she just keeps on showing up and playing tough” Orshoski said. “She is a good little ball handler and maybe not known as a great scorer, but she was one of the few that was able to put it in the hole tonight”
Cahill talked about slowing down Santoro.
“We played her straight up, but we are always aware of her,” he said. “Bre Michaels has been our lead defender for four years. We’ve put her on other teams’ best kids and she has always done well. I thought she did a great job tonight. Carly is someone you always need help on and we did a good job of knowing where she was and making shots contested”
Both teams travel to Berlin this weeks for the annual Classic in the Country to face arguably the toughest competition of the season. The No. 1-ranked (Div. II) Fliers play Division I Cincinnati Notre Dame, while Bellevue faces the No. 1-ranked team in Div. IV, Newark Catholic (10-1).
Orshoski said he’s hoping his team can get out of its funk by Friday.
“You just put your head down and you work. We have to battle through the adversity that we’ve had,” he said. “We’ll break down or break through. This has been an up and down season. We’ve got to find a way to break through this wall or whatever that is in our way. Maybe it’s not the best week to have to do that, but it’s what we are going to have to do” The Fliers will also look to regroup
— with or without their starting guard. “If we use an excuse, we’re not half the team I thought we were,” Cahill said. “We still have good players, (but) obviously (Weber) is a big piece of it. It’s heartbreaking, but we’ve got to do what we do. We’ll come back and battle Thursday and then go down to the Classic and give it our best shot”
Schalk 5-3—16, Turner 1-1—4, Santoro 3-0—7, Stamm 2-2—7, Watson 3-1—8, Daniel 1-0—2 TOTALS 15-7—44.
Weber 1-0—3, B. Michaels 1-4—6, Lozier 0-1—1, Arndt 1-0—3, Wadsworth 3-2—8, K. Michaels 5-0—10, Cahill 8-10—29. TOTALS: 20-16—60
Bellevue 7 13 9 15—44 Clyde 14 18 15 13—60