Stockaders stay undefeated in conference play

PHOTO BY REBECCA PADULA Old Fort's Carson Steyer goes up for a basket as St Mary's Dylan Christian (left) and Jordan Jude defend Friday.

OLD FORT — Chris Ceccoli was hoping halftime would give his team a chance to flip the momentum.

The St. Mary coach had watched his team get off to a strong start at Old Fort, building leads of 17-10 after one quarter and going up 24-15 following a Nathan Roesch layup with 5:12 left in the half.

But after that basket, the Panthers faltered. Old Fort was able to pressure St. Mary into three straight turnovers, and began cutting into its deficit.

A steal and basket by Zach Dewese was followed by a three-point play by Carson Steyer. Now, down by only a point, Mason Salas converted a jumper and with time running out in the half, Gregory Steyer connected on a straight-away 3.

In the span of about six minutes, Ceccoli’s team went from being up nine to down four. The Stockaders led 31-27 at the break.

For Ceccoli, the recess couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We tried to make some adjustments out of it at halftime,” he said. “We wanted to make a run there to start the third, for them to call the first timeout.”

Instead, the opposite happened.

Stickbacks by Dewese and Garrett Havens at the beginning of the half were followed by a Gregory Steyer layup. Then AJ Steyer buried a 3 to make it 40-27. A free throw by Carson Steyer capped what had been a 21-0 multi-quarter run.

A layup by Myles Bruno ended St. Mary’s scoreless stretch, which went nearly eight minutes of game time.

The Stockaders, behind 21 points from Carson Steyer, 14 points and eight rebounds from Dewese and a 14-point, six rebound, six steal, six assist night from A.J. Steyer, never looked back. They improved to 9-2, and 7-0 in the Sandusky Bay Conference with a 69-54 win.

“We were able to pick it up once we got some baskets, and actually picked it up in the half court and put some pressure on them,” Old Fort coach Eric Hoover said. “We were giving them everything way too easy there in the first 10-12 minutes of the game.”

Things changed with the help of Carson Steyer, who scored 16 of his points after halftime. Hoover said the Stockaders did a good job up front.

“We were able to pound it inside, especially when they had to take (St. Mary post) Roesch out, and get a lot of good inside looks, and draw a lot of fouls and get to the free throw line a lot,” Hoover said.

Roesch finished with 11 points and five rebounds for the Panthers. Myles Bruno had a team-best 20 points.

St. Mary fell to 9-2, 5-2.

Old Fort is now through the first round of SBC River play, without suffering a loss.

“First time though, to win ’em all and have five of them be on the road, I couldn’t ask for more, obviously,” Hoover said. “But now that everybody’s seen you … it’s gonna be a lot harder.”