The St. Paul boys basketball team continued to bounce back from a tough opening night loss on Dec. 7. One night after handling Monroeville on the road (62-46), the Flyers never let host Crestview get in the game on Saturday.
St. Paul never trailed in the 68-51 win to improve to 3-1 overall and 2-1 in the Firelands Conference.
“Absolutely, we’ll take that,” St. Paul coach Mike Smith said of the two conference road wins. “That gets two off the plate that we have to travel for. I just really enjoy this group. It’s a senior group with good leadership, and right now we’re just playing unselfish.
“We share the ball, and no one cares who gets what,” he added. “We just take what the defense gives us.”
The game was tied at 2-2, and for just 43 seconds. From there, the Flyers never trailed or were tied.
An 11-0 scoring run in the opening quarter set the tone. Nate Winslow and Ian Kashian scored all 11 points for the Flyers, as Winslow converted a three-point play and added two baskets in transition — and Kashian put in back-to-back scores as well.
That gave the Flyers a 13-2 lead at the 4:28 mark of the opening quarter. The Cougars (1-3, 0-3) got within 15-8 at the 3:23 mark, but St. Paul closed with the last five points by Nick Winslow and Kashian again to take a 20-8 lead into the second quarter.
Crestview turned it over eight times in the first quarter and were just 2-of-9 shooting — compared to 9-of-17 and three turnovers by the Flyers.
The Cougars managed to trim the deficit to 25-17 with 4:49 left in the first half — but then senior Jake Griffin caught fire for the Flyers. Griffin connected on three consecutive 3-pointers, which pushed the lead up to 34-20 with 2:05 left in the half.
Nick Winslow then drilled a 3-pointer to make it 39-22 with 42.6 seconds left in the half — and the lead held at 39-24 at the break.
After the Cougars scored to pull within 44-30 with 5:49 left in the third quarter, they did not score for the next 4:49. In that stretch, the Flyers put together a 10-0 scoring run to take a commanding 54-30 lead.
Ian Kashian, Nick Winslow, Griffin and Noah Good scored the points in a balanced effort for the Flyers.
Crestview scored the first six points of the final quarter to trim the deficit to 18 (54-36), but drew no closer down the stretch.
Since losing a 17-point lead in the second quarter of a 67-65 loss vs. Plymouth, the Flyers have outscored three opponents by an average of 23 points.
“We really executed offensively, rebounded the basketball and got out in transition,” Smith said. “I’m really, really happy with how our kids applied scouting reports to their personnel. They (Crestview) don’t run a lot of sets, so we really concentrated on some things and helped off on some of their kids when we needed to.
“That’s what’s exciting, our scouting report knowledge,” he added. “We’re very fluid offensively — and this is the first time at this point in the season that we’ve had so much that worked. We just have to shore up our defense and keep doing the things that we’re doing.”
Griffin finished with 13 points and five rebounds, with Nate Winslow adding 13 points as well. Ian Kashian had 12 points and six rebounds, while Nick Winslow had eight points and nine rebounds, and Alex Kashian added eight points and five rebounds.
In the junior varsity game, St. Paul claimed a 45-38 win. Grant Houck led the team with 13 points, with Ethan Blair and Adam Baker each adding eight points.
St. Paul will host New London (2-3, 1-2) on Friday in FC play, then visits Edison (0-5) on Saturday.
ST. PAUL (3-1, 2-1)
Treg Smith 1-0—2; Jake Griffin 4-1—13; Nick Winslow 3-1—8; Ian Kashian 6-0—12; Nate Winslow 6-1—13; Alex Kashian 3-2—8; Noah Good 2-0—4; Justin Hammersmith 3-0—6; Brandon Furlong 0-2—2. TOTALS 28-7—68.
CRESTVIEW (1-4, 0-3)
Brevin King 2-1—5; Evan Hamilton 3-3—9; Kolton Kissel 3-2—8; Kameron Goon 5-6—18; Jacob Greer 2-0—5; Dylan Balcarcel 2-0—4; Daytona Ritchie 1-0—2. TOTALS 18-12—51.
St. Paul 20 19 15 14 — 68
Crestview 8 16 8 18 — 51
3-point FGs: (STP) Griffin 4, Nick Winslow; (C) Goon 2, Greer