Willman sees positives despite Calvert loss to St. Paul

It is one thing to rebound from a loss. To rebound from a 57-point loss is quite another matter.

Calvert was unable to come all the way back from the 89-32 pounding it took Friday from Midland Athletic League co-leader Old Fort. But coach Ted Willman found reason for encouragement after the Senecas challenged Norwalk St. Paul before falling 68-48 Saturday.

“About 22 minutes,” Willman said. “I thought we executed at both ends of the floor pretty well for about 22 minutes. The last 10 minutes, we missed some shots and they kept hitting shots and things kind of got away from us.”

It was, in fact, a one-point game with 3:43 left in the third quarter after Mike Bennett’s jumper pulled Calvert to within 36-35. The Senecas even had a chance to take the lead. But for the third time that quarter, the Flyers came up with a steal, this one by Michael Griffin, for a layup.

Then St. Paul took its game inside as Griffin scored on a tip and sub Chris Stang took three straight lobs to the hoop to cap a 10-2 finish to the quarter for a 46-37 edge.

Sal Sortino, who led St. Paul with 16 points, nailed a couple 3-pointers and Gabe Kocher added another early in the fourth and the Flyers were on their way to their ninth win against three losses.

“We didn’t panic at halftime,” St. Paul coach Mike Smith said. “We told them we needed to sit down and play good halfcourt defense, secure some rebounds and be a little more patient on offense, try to go inside and out.

“We wanted some inside touches, but by the same token, when we got our shooters some looks, those kids were able to step up and knock some shots down,” he said. “We had a good second half – we scored 38 and gave up 23. That’s pretty solid.”

It wasn’t like the Flyers labored in the first half as they hit 11-of-20 from the field in taking a 30-25 lead. But in the second half, they were even better at 15-for-25. St. Paul went 8-for-18 from 3-point range.

Bennett led the Senecas (2-12) with 17 points. He had six of those in the first quarter, but was especially effective early in the third period. After Griffin hit a couple foul shots, Bennett hit three straight jumpers, including a 3-pointer. The last of those tied the game at 32-32 with 5:06 left in the period.

“We did a really good job there,” Willman said. “We made good reads, the guys were setting good screens, everything we have been working on came together there. We just weren’t able to stay consistent enough to do it for a whole game.”

“Credit to Ted’s kids,” Smith said. “With Nick (Warnement) being out, the way he’s been, the kind of player he is, that’s tough. I thought the Bennett kid had an outstanding game for them and that zone of theirs on a small floor is tough to play against.”

Still, the Flyers finished with four in double figures. Bob Harwood backed Sortino with 12 points. Griffin added 10 points and eight rebounds and Kocher came off the bench to score 11.

“We’re balanced,” Smith said. “We’re shooting 36 percent from 3-point, but we’re understanding that we have to go inside and out to get that. We hit some 3s, but we also had 30 points from our post players.”

Brian Gruss had nine points and Austin Ball had seven for Calvert. Marcus Somers led with six rebounds.

“When you only have two wins, it’s easy to have a lag after getting thumped like we did (Friday),” Willman said. “We didn’t do that. We came in this morning, watched film, worked on some things and we got better.

“The outcome on the scoreboard wasn’t what we wanted, but we got better,” he said. “About 22 minutes tonight. Now we have to work at getting better, longer.”