Like most coaches, Ryan Carter thought his Clyde Fliers could have gone to the foul line a few more times at Calvert Saturday night.
Then again, they clanked seven of the eight attempts they did get so there wasn't much of an edge to be had from added opportunities.
The 3-ball, on the other hand, was quite another matter. The Fliers were in range pretty much the moment they crossed the time line. For evidence, consider their 14-of-25 success where it counted most and that paved the way for a 65-55 non-league win.
PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE
Clyde's Derek Gray, who finished with 24 points, dribbles the ball against Calvert Saturday.
"One-for-8 from the foul line? Wow. And I don't think our two-point percentage was very good either," Carter said after his club, late starters after an extended football playoff run, improved to 3-0.
"But when you shoot it from behind the arc the way we did, it cures a lot of what ails you," he said. "When you make 14 3s, that's going to cure a lot of ills."
Veteran point guard Derek Gray, who played football for the first time and had a big year at wide receiver this past fall, knocked down six 3-pointers on the way to scoring 24 points for the Fliers.
The bombs-away approach was hardly a solo act. Collin Rieman (11 points) hit three from long range, Dristen Cook and Alex Marshall each had a couple and Zach Rieman added another.
But Gray was clearly at the heart of the attack.
Clyde had three 3-pointers in opening an 11-6 first-quarter lead. But Calvert's Austin Ball hit a long ball of his own and added a coast-to-coast drive for two. Then Austin Perry converted a three-point play to tie the game at 14-14 with 5:31 left in the half.
Gray suddenly took over from there and sparked a 15-0 run that put the Fliers on top for good.
It began, naturally, with a 3-pointer, but he added a steal for a layup and picked up another off a Matt Webb steal. Eric Wiseman hit a jumper before Gray knocked down a couple more 3-pointers for a 29-14 advantage with 3:38 still to play.
"Besides Hunter Perry coming up, we won't see another guard close to him," Calvert coach Ted Willman said. "He's a tough guard. A couple of times, he hit them with hands in his face and couple others were really deep.
"At point guard, he makes their other four guys on the floor better and it doesn't matter who those other four guys are," he said. "Because of his ability to shoot it or penetrate, other guys are going to get looks in good spots."
"He's playing very well for us, but honestly, he's a step off right now," Carter said. "He's been very good, but he's going to get better."
Clyde led 34-19 at the half and put together a 10-2 run over a three-minute span in the third period to push the margin to 20. Calvert narrowed it to 10, watched the lead climb to 19 and then trimmed it to 10 once again.
"There are some little things defensively we're struggling with and getting our legs for our first double-game weekend was a little tough for us," Carter said. "But this is a different environment and we got the double wins, so we're happy.
"We're still trying to iron things out, get a set rotation and get guys in the proper spots," he said. "But to get two wins, we'll take it."
Calvert dropped its fourth straight after opening the season with a pair of wins. But the rout that seemed to be developing never materialized and that was a major plus for Willman.
"I told the guys, 'Don't look at the scoreboard; we're making progress,'" Willman said. "Tonight, I'd say 80 percent of the time we showed a lot of patience on offense. In the past, it had been 50-50 at best. We were a lot more focused and did some good things.
"That's what our problem's been a lack of focus," he said. "Our focus, collectively, was much better tonight.
Ball led the Senecas with 18 points. Mike Bennett scored all 12 of his points in the second half, Perry finished with 10 points and Drew Ritzler seven. Perry and Ritzler each had seven rebounds.
"Even though maybe it didn't show on the scoreboard, I think this might have been the best we've played all year as far as playing both ends of the floor," Willman said. "The big thing now is we've got to come back Monday in practice and keep building on that."