Stockaders use scoring bursts to take down Calvert

PHOTO BY STEVE WILLIAMS Old Fort’s Jacob Webb sets his eyes on the basket after he splits Calvert defenders on his way down the lane for the score Saturday in Tiffin.

If the goal is to finish, Old Fort had that part locked in.Two big scoring bursts, one to end the first half and the other to cap the third period, were the difference for the Stockaders in a 75-58 win over Calvert Saturday night.

“That’s probably the closest to a complete game that we’ve played yet,” Old Fort coach Eric Hoover said after his team nailed down its eighth win in nine tries and, more important, its fifth without a loss in Sandusky Bay Conference River Division play.

“I saw a lot of good things tonight,” Hoover said. “We really had a lot of good activity on defense.”

It was a defense that led to offense, though not in the usual way. The Stockaders didn’t force a lot of turnovers — Calvert had 13 to Old Fort’s 12. But when there were opportunities, they were often able to get quick scores.

Old Fort opened leads of 9-2 and 18-8 before settling in for a 21-13 edge by quarter’s end behind Hootie Cleveland’s 10 points.

Calvert narrowed the gap to 21-20 in the first two minutes of the second period on inside hoops by Corbin Kantner and Zach Conn, plus a 3-pointer by JJ Dull. But from there, the Stockaders laid a 20-10 finish to the quarter for a 41-30 halftime advantage. They were on top for good at that point.

Cleveland, who knocked down five 3-pointers on the way to a 29-point night and was his team’s top rebounder with seven, had another 10-spot in the quarter. The Old Fort senior had a 3-pointer and a three-point play to start the run and Jacob Webb added a three-point play and a couple free throws to get it going.

“Those just kill you,” Calvert coach Ted Willman said of three straight possessions that produced three points. “A lack of consistency, that’s been our problem right along. We had a couple runs tonight, but we couldn’t stay consistent with them. You can’t give up 21 and 20 in the first half. You just can’t.”

The Stockaders put up those numbers without a single point from senior post Eric Bell, who came in averaging 10 points and 10 rebounds per game.

“He only took one shot, I think, at that point,” Hoover said. “We’ve got different guys who can score. There are going to be nights when he’s got more of an advantage than others. Hootie obviously picked up a lot of scoring load tonight.”

So, too, did Jacob Webb and Luke Wagner, Old Fort’s pair of 5-foot-6 junior backcourt sparks who gave the Senecas trouble throughout. Wagner had 12 points, including a couple 3-pointers, while Webb checked in with 17 points, nine of them at the foul line, with five rebounds and a game-high six assists. Jacob Hammond contributed nine points.

“He’s is a pretty crafty little guy who does a lot of good things,” Hoover said of Wagner. “He knows the game. He’s a smart player who makes a lot of the effort plays. Webb did a great job of getting into the paint, especially in the second half. He created a lot of opportunities and did a great job of getting to the foul line.”

Which brings us to Old Fort’s second big run.Calvert pulled to within 46-40 with 4:16 left in the third period using mostly an inside attack. Kantner, who finished with 16 points and nine rebounds, hit a couple on strong post moves. Alex Keller, who added 15 points, did likewise.

But Webb hit four free throws and Cleveland canned another 3-pointer in a 16-4 run that pushed the margin back to 60-44. This time, Calvert couldn’t rally.

“Webb was a guy we knew we had to try to contain,” Willman said. “His crossover is really good. They do a really good job where they screen him or he uses his crossover to go towards Hootie. Then, if you help off Hootie, he’s going to catch and shoot a 3 and if you don’t, (Webb) can take it to the basket.”

Calvert outgoaled Old Fort by one, but the Stockaders had seven 3-pointers to just two for the Senecas. More importantly, Old Fort went 16 for 20 from the foul line while the Senecas managed just 2 of 5.

“We thought we could get the ball inside if we stayed patient on offense,” Willman said. “Our post guys, Alex and Corbin had 15 and 16, their effort was a lot better. That’s more like what we expect.

“But overall, we’re still not getting the consistency you would expect at this point,” he said. “This is our ninth game and we’ve had five different lineups. We’re going to keep working at it until we find the right combination.”