FOSTORIA - One could hardly blame Rick Renz if he was thinking 'Here we go again' here Saturday night.
Fostoria's best basketball start of the year, one in which three times the Redmen built first-half leads of 12 points, was but a memory. Instead, three times hard-charging Calvert had pulled to within two points with a big third-quarter rally.
But what worked well early also worked well late as the Redmen took their game inside and held on for a 56-50 win.
Fostoria’s Kagen Brown shoots over Calvert’s Donavon Stith, while Marcus Somers also defends during Saturday’s game in?Fostoria.
"My emphasis in talking to the team before the game, I wanted some offensive rebounds," Renz said after his club improved to 2-5 while handing Calvert its first loss in three starts. "We hadn't been doing a very good job of that, but tonight, we scored 18 points on offensive rebounds."
Four of those putbacks came from junior Rayshon Martin, who led the Redmen with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Hunter Abell scored all six of his points on offensive boards and finished with 11 total rebounds as Fostoria owned a 42-29 edge overall.
Martin scored eight in the middle of the first quarter for the Redmen, who never trailed in the game. And when Kaleb Bemis (15 points, three assists) hit his second 3-pointer of the quarter and Abell added a tip for two in the final minute, Fostoria led 18-7.
"Rayshon Martin, it took a while to wake him up this year," Renz said with a smile. "But he was phenomenal tonight with 20 points and he had around 10 rebounds and several blocked shots.
"We talked about getting the ball to our bigs, Rayshon and Drew (Stennett)," he said. "We did a nice job with Rayshon especially, and when he got it, he finished."
The Redmen pushed the margin to 24-12 with a little more than a minute to go in the half, but Calvert's Austin Ball scored four to trim the margin to eight.
"Coming out at half, we had given up 10 offensive rebounds already," Calvert coach Ted Willman said. "Even then, we were still only down eight. We were right in it without playing very well."
Ball, who led the Senecas with 14 points, and Austin Perry (eight points, six rebounds) sparked the third-quarter charge that nearly allowed Calvert to overtake the Redmen.
Ball hit a couple jumpers in the lane, had a drive for a score and hit two foul shots in a two-plus-minute span. Perry took a pass from Mike Bennett (10 points, nine rebounds) and one from Michael Smith for power scores, the last of which pulled Calvert to within 33-31.
Martin had a putback, but Drew Ritzler answered with an elbow jumper. Then Abell added a rebound score for a 37-33 FHS lead for the stretch run.
Martin had eight points and Kagen Brown scored all five of his points in the fourth. Fostoria pushed the margin back to 46-34 with 5:48 to play and the closest Calvert came from there was six points.
"We handled pressure better tonight," Renz said. "We had, in my opinion, some unforced turnovers but it wasn't 30-some turnovers like we had against Genoa or the 20-some turnovers we had against other teams that have pressed us.
"We were more confident against the press tonight," he said. "I hope we get to the point where teams are doing us a favor by pressing us because we get some open looks."
Calvert, meanwhile, was too often off the mark.
"Their guys came out and I think wanted it just a little more than we did," Willman said. "We just weren't real sharp tonight. Our stats showed they had 18 offensive rebounds and that hurt. They're long. We have guys with strength, but they're long and that bothered us more than anything,"
The other telling stat was foul shooting. After surviving a 13-for-25 effort Friday in a win over North Baltimore, the Senecas weren't as fortunate Saturday while netting 15-of-29. Calvert managed just 6-of-15 from the line in the fourth quarter.
"We had 13 turnovers tonight and last night we had 23 so we had some things that were positive tonight," he said. "It seemed like we fixed one thing and something else crops up.
"The missed foul shots hurt," he said. "Today in practice, our form looked good but for whatever reason tonight, we couldn't hit them and that came back to bite us."