In starting with a 7-1 record, and winning by an average of over 21 points per game, Calvert hasn't had to play many close games. This left coach Ted Willman wondering how his team would respond to a true test.
Friday night he found out.
After a 15-point second half lead against Old Fort got trimmed down to a single point with less than two minutes to play, his team answered the challenge with a 6-0 run to close out the game for a 69-62 victory.
"It was a good thing for us," Calvert guard Matt Frank said. "It was our second close game; the first one we fell to Fostoria, this one was good. We came out, executed at the end and showed what we can do at the end."
Late in the third quarter, Calvert's Joe Brickner was fouled making a layup, but couldn't convert the three-point play. However, Nick Warnement crashed the offensive glass and put the ball back in, stretching the Calvert lead to 56-41.
Old Fort scored the next six points to trim the lead to nine at the end of the third quarter. In the fourth, Brad Bannister led the Stockader charge. Bannister, scoreless through the first three quarters scored eight, helping cut the lead to 60-58 with 2:50 to play.
|Calvert 69, Old Fort 62|
|Old Fort (5-4, 2-2): Dalton Perry 7-7-21; Zach Alexander 0-0-0; Cole Davidson 2-2-6; Brad Bannister 3-2-8; A.J. Phillimore 5-0-10; Brice Taylor 1-0-2; Marc Salas 0-0-0; Hunter Perry 5-5-15. Totals: 23-16-62|
|Calvert (8-1, 4-0): Matt Frank 6-0-13; Nick Warnement 10-4-25; Ryan Huss 0-0-0; Austin Ball 0-0-0; Nick Bennett 2-1-5; Ben Nielsen 2-2-6; Joe Brickner 4-0-8; Nate Ritzler 4-3-12. Totals: 28-10-69|
|Old Fort||16||12||19||15 – 62|
|Calvert||18||18||20||13 – 69|
|Field goals: Old Fort 23-50; Calvert 28-68.|
|3-point goals: Old Fort 0-10; Calvert 3-16 (Frank, Warnement, Ritzler).|
|Foul shots: Old Fort 16-23; Calvert 10-19.|
|Rebounds: Old Fort 37 (D. Perry 14); Calvert 32 (Nielsen 7).|
|Turnovers: Old Fort 23; Calvert 14.|
Dalton Perry hit the next two shots for Old Fort, bringing the score to 63-62 with 1:51 left.
"We certainly battled hard," Old Fort coach Eric Hoover said. "We got down (15) there in the third quarter. We got off to a bad start in the third quarter, they were scoring every time down the floor. We couldn't stop them from scoring. We changed things up a little bit on defense. We finally got some stops and we were able to battle back in it."
On the other end of the floor, after having to sit out most of the game in foul trouble, Ben Neilsen felt he had to make a play once he was in.
Nate Ritzler "threaded the needle" on a pass to Nielsen which he turned into a layup and a foul. Neilsen converted the 3-point play and Calvert held Old Fort scoreless the rest of the way.
"That was a huge turning point in the game," Nielsen said. "We knew what we had to do and we executed. That's what the coaches stressed to us the whole time, finishing plays down the stretch."
Willman was glad his team had the chance to show what they could do in crunch time.
"I thought down the stretch, our guys kept their composure," he said. "We had some games where it hasn't been real close, and people made some runs. It was good for us to have a game where we had a lead and it kind of dwindled a little bit, and it was a back-and-forth type of thing. Who's going to execute better, these last four minutes of the game?
"Here's the game situation: clock's our friend, they're going to press you. They're going to try to take some things away, they're going come at you. Let's just make sure we execute. We had guys making extra passes, finding guys and not forcing things offensively and taking what was given. That was good to see as far as growth, coming down here the second half of the season."
The two teams played virtually even for the first quarter-and-a-half. The game was tied nine times with the five lead changes. Calvert held a 27-26 lead when Nick Warnement took the game over.
Warnement scored the next nine Calvert points, the final two coming when he made a steal, drove to the hoop and made a layup to beat the halftime buzzer. At the time, the eight-point lead Calvert took into the locker room was the biggest of the game.
"He's a kid that just makes plays," Willman said of Warnement, who had a game-high 25 points. "We asked him to take more of a leadership role as point guard and run some things. He's a kid that whether he has to penetrate and find guys, or catch and shoot, or he just needs to make a play, he does a good job of that; he takes what they give him. Some of the guys were concerned, I think, about Nate and Matt on the wings, so there were some seams there, and he did a nice job of changing speeds and getting to the basket."
Frank followed him up with 13 points and Nate Ritzler added 12.
Perry led Old Fort with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Hunter Perry chipped in 15.