As difficult as the last two days have been for Clyde’s girls basketball team, head coach John Cahill was happy to be back in action Thursday. Starting guard Lexi Weber will likely miss most, if not the all of the rest of the season after tearing her ACL and suffering a partial tear in her MCL in Clyde’s 60-44 win over Bellevue Tuesday.
The Fliers had no trouble in their first game without Weber Thursday at Perkins, topping the Pirates 56-24 in Sandusky Bay Conference action.
“I was actually really glad we got a chance to play, right away afterwards just to kind of get it going and out of our system,” Cahill said. “This is just a tough game to play on multiple fronts. (Coach) Ray (Neill) and Perkins are very deliberate and I think if they could, they would stall the entire quarter. To try to get them moving is tough and it’s tough to play well in a game like that. And then with Lexi being out, part of everybody is not mentally and emotionally right. It was tough”
Weber said she’s still deciding whether to rehab for six weeks and try to return this season, or get surgery immediately. The 5-foot-5 senior guard is hoping to play at the collegiate level next year, but hasn’t committed anywhere yet.
“I feel like I could rehab right now, but if I came back, I don’t know how strong I would be, and I don’t want to hinder my team,” an emotional Weber said on the bench Thursday. “But I still want to play, so I just don’t know what I am going to do yet”
Makaylin Lozier started in Weber’s place with sophomore Kennedy Arndt rotating in as well. “I read a book where Bob Knight talked about always having the next person ready to step up, and that is what we are trying to create right now,” Cahill said. “They’ve both played a lot and we have a lot of confidence in both kids. We’re going to look at a couple other kids that can maybe come up and give us some minutes. I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for us. We’re not a charity case. We are 15-0 and we are still planning on winning a lot of games”
The Fliers jumped out to a 16-2 lead after the first quarter and where never challenged.
A stingy defense limited Perkins’ ability to score. The Pirates went just 2-of-12 from the field in the first half and only improved to 6-of-20 from the field in the second half.
“We are a process in the making,” Perkins coach Ray Neill said. “We talked all week about not being intimidated but we were 100 percent intimidated by them from the very beginning. Even our game plan was off. We were so nervous we couldn’t even follow the game plan on our early possessions”
The Pirates got three 3-pointers from Ariana Burrows in the fourth quarter, but by then Clyde had turned to its reserves.
“We wanted to control the tempo but we don’t have the ball handlers to do that against a team of that caliber,” Neill said. “They have a once in a lifetime player in Amanda Cahill and in my opinion, Kelsey Michaels is the Dennis Rodman of Ohio high school girls basketball. She just flat-out loves to get after in on the boards.
“Hopefully we gained something from tonight. I’m not sure I know what that is right now, but may find it later”
The Fliers were paced by junior Kelsey Michaels with 19 points and six rebounds, while senior Amanda Cahill added 14 points and nine boards.
“I am still really confident in the team,” Michaels said. “Every day is a new day and we are never going to give up on each other. We’re all sad and everything and every game now is different, but we try to just play for Lexi”
Michaels also added that the expectations are still high for the team.
“I think (Lozier and Arndt) are ready, they just need to build more confidence and that will grow,” she said. “The team is so supportive of them coming up. It will be a big step for them”
The Fliers face arguable one of their toughest tests of the season this weekend at the annual Classic in the Country in Berlin. The No. 1-ranked (Div. II) Fliers play Division I Cincinnati Notre Dame.
“It’ll be a fun trip and an exciting game” Cahill said. “They are one of the more storied programs in Ohio history with five straight championships. They’ve got a big time post player who is going to Michigan and they’ve got a point guard that just came off suspension who transferred schools who is really, really good, so it will be a fun game”
It will also be a trial.
“We’re going to be tested defensively for sure,” Cahill said. “They pressure so we are going to have to handle the ball. We are really throwing Bre (Michaels) into a totally new role. She’s run the point in sort of a back up spot the last two years, but this is the first time she has really been our primary ball handler. She’ll make some mistakes, but she’ll get better. She’s a tough, gutty kid. It’ll be a great test for us. It’s a great environment. We’re excited to go play”
It’s been an emotional week, but Cahill knows his Fliers have to keep moving forward.
“Maybe we’ll get Lexi back to some capacity this year, but we’re pressing off what we got and we are going to do the best we can,” he said. “It’s tough on the girls. It’s their friend and their teammate. We talked about this in the locker room, the reason we’re all together isn’t because we are friends, although I like to think we all are. The reason we are all together is to make a basketball team and so, although we don’t like it, we have got to find ways to win”
CLYDE (15-0, 9-0)
B. Michaels 3-0—7, Lozier 2-0—4, Wadsworth 1-0—2,
K. Michaels 8-3—19, Cahill 4-5—14, Miller 2-2—6, Kardotzke 2-0—4 TOTALS: 22-10—56
PERKINS (6-7, 6-3)
Smith 2-0—5, Seitz 0-3—3, Baumgardner 3-0—6, Burrows 3-0—9, Seeholzer 0-1—1 TOTALS: 8-4—24
Clyde 16 14 18 8—56 Perkins 2 4 5 13—24