The St. Paul boys basketball team opened its season on Dec. 7 with a home game vs. Firelands Conference foe Plymouth. The Flyers let a 17-point lead slip away in the eventual 67-65 loss in Norwalk.
On Thursday, St. Paul again built up a double-digit lead. However, when the Big Red got within a possession in the second half, the Flyers were able to put the game away and earn a high-scoring 78-69 road win over the Big Red.
With the win, St. Paul improved to 8-4 overall and 5-3 in the FC. Plymouth fell to 6-7 overall (4-4 FC).
In the loss on Dec. 7, Plymouth’s Jacob Adams, the top scorer in the FC at 24.1 points per game, went off for 35. Though he scored 25 on Thursday, the Flyers were running two defenders at him in the second half.
However, that allowed Plymouth’s Brody Brown to get open for a pair of 3-pointers to help keep the Big Red in the game.
“Adams had a really nice stretch late in the third and into the fourth quarter,” St. Paul coach Mike Smith said. “Brown really helped them with when we started doubling Adams, who is a heck of a player. We were trying to keep the ball out of his hands.
“But after they got within three, we were able to sub back in and spread the floor,” he added. “We shared the ball really well and made our free throws down the stretch. It’s a great road win for us, especially with it being one of the games we lost in the first half.”
Leading 17-14 after one quarter, the Flyers surged ahead to a 30-19 lead at halftime by limiting the Big Red to just two field goals — both baskets by Brown, who finished with 11 points.
Adams had scored eight points in the opening quarter, but the Flyers were able to hold him scoreless in the second as they got the lead out to double-digits.
“The bench came in and did a great job,” Smith said. “We were able to rebound, get stops and push in transition. We did a great job of contesting shots and keeping the ball out of the lane for that entire second quarter.
“When we rebound and get it out, good things happen,” he added. “We got easy baskets.
Plymouth outscored the Flyers by a 30-23 margin in the third quarter, as Adams again got hot with nine points in the eight minutes. That cut the deficit to 53-49 entering the fourth.
Forced to foul down the stretch, the Flyers made six free throws late — and post Alex Kashian went off for 10 of his 16 points in the quarter.
“We ask Alex to come off the bench, and he has played a lot of quality minutes,” Smith said. “It’s nice that we don’t go through that stretch where there is an offensive lull when we can sub guys like him and Brandon (Furlong) in.”
Furlong added nine points for the Flyers, who got a team-high 19 from Nick Winslow and 14 from Jake Griffin. Both Winslow and Griffin carried the scoring load early, and Alex Kashian shouldered it late.
“One thing we’ve been able to do is score the ball this year, and I think we have good balance,” Smith said. “And sometimes it comes with a nice punch off the bench from some of those guys.”
After Adams and Brown combined for 36, the Big Red got 13 points from Walker Elliott and 10 from Blake Gibson. Kade Collins added eight for Plymouth, which travels to Crestview on Saturday.
In the junior varsity game, the Flyers posted a 44-35 win to sweep the night. Jordan Shepherd scored a game-high 19 points, while Grant Houck added 11.
St. Paul hosts Monroeville (5-8, 2-6) with a 1 p.m. JV start in an attempt to beat the pending snow moving into the area.
“We’re having fun with this group and I still don’t think we’ve reached our potential,” Smith said.
ST. PAUL (8-4, 5-3)
Noah Good 1-0—2; Treg Smith 2-1—5; Jake Griffin 4-4—14; Nick Winslow 5-6—19; Brandon Furlong 4-0—9; Justin Hammersmith 1-0—2; Nate Winslow 3-1—7; Ian Kashian 2-0—4; Alex Kashian 7-2—16. TOTALS 26-14—78.
PLYMOUTH (6-7, 4-4)
Anthony Montgomery 1-0—2; Walker Elliott 6-1—13; Jacob Adams 11-0—25; Blake Gibson 4-1—10; Brody Brown 4-1—11; Kade Collins 3-2—8. TOTALS 29-5—69.
St. Paul 17 13 23 25 — 78
Plymouth 14 5 30 20 — 69
3-point FGs: (STP) Ni. Winslow 3, Griffin 2, Fulong; (P) Adams 3, Brown 2, Gibson
JV: St. Paul, 44-35