Some teams fold, some teams plateau, and others become stronger in spite of having their mettle tested.
After Tuesday night’s 69-39 lop-sided non league loss to Willard, St. Paul (9-5, 6-3) put it’s best foot forward Friday night when it bested Firelands conference foe the Crestview (3-12, 0-9) by a 58-49 at home at the Harvey Keller Gymnasium in Norwalk.
“It was nice to come back home and get a win tonight coming off the loss,” St. Paul coach Mike Smith said. “Now we get an opportunity to come away with a two-win weekend with Huron coming here (tonight). It is a non-conference game and it really doesn’t mean much as far as points go, but they are a good team that has lost some really close games and they could easily have another three or four wins in their conference. We don’t have any more Tuesdays off, and sometimes that can be a good thing when you have a loss like we did, just to get back on the court.”
The Flyers got a to a fast start thanks to a big first quarter by twin brothers Nate and Nick Winslow who scored five and six points, respectively, to give St. Paul’s offense a boost energy and early control of the game. Crestview did what they could to keep itself within striking distance of the Flyers. They even pulled to four points with 2:45 remaining in the game after Jacob Greer finished put in a layup on a fastbreak courtesy of a St. Paul turnover — that was as close as the Cougars came to taking the lead from St. Paul the rest of the way though.
Brevin King did everything he could to lead the Cougars to their first conference win on the season. He drained four shots from three-point range and each one of them seemed to more difficult than the one’s before thanks to St. Paul’s tight defense. King wound up scoring a game 16 points and Evan Hamilton added 15 in the loss.
Smith said he wasn’t surprised at all that the Crestview came out and competed so fiercely with St. Paul.
“Brevin King and Hamilton are both really good basketball players and we knew that we had to pressure them and not allow them to make easy shots,” Smith said. “I think King made four three’s tonight and it isn’t like he wasn’t defended, everyone of those shots were contested. He just made some tough shots and it was the same thing with Hamilton. They have a lot of talent on their team and are coached well too.”
Following the little mini-run by Crestview, Ian Kashian returned to doing what he does best — muscling his way to the basketball on the boards and getting putbacks for the Flyers. Kashian did just that 2:05 to stop the Cougars cold and extend the lead back 51-45 lead and clearly put pressure back the road team to make something happen if they were to upset St. Paul. That proved to be ball game as the Flyers pulled away and Jake Griffin closed the show with a dunk to put the exclamation point on it, barely beating the buzzer for the win.
“We did a lot of things well tonight,” Smith said. “When they doubled and tripled us underneath I thought that we spread the ball around and found the open man. We also did a good job underneath the basket and were able to get quite a few cutbacks and second and third chances. We were able to get stops against them and stretch the lead back out when they would get closer and that was one of the things that we do good.
“Tomorrow will make something like seven games in 15 days, and that can be taxing,” he added. “More so from a preparation point, you are asking the kids to take in a lot of information over a short period of time and to be able to implement game plans quickly. We do a lot of self-scouting as well as scouting other teams, and we watch playback the videos to see what we are doing well at and what we need to improve on — and it doesn’t leave a lot of time for adjustments. You just try to keep building momentum and getting better as the season goes along and hope that you are playing your best when tournament time comes.”
Nick Winslow led the St. Paul with 13 points and was joined in double figures by Nate Winslow, who added 11 points of his own. Alex Kashian added nine, while Ian Kashian and Griffin each added eight.
In the junior varsity game, St. Paul made it a sweep with a 56-39 win. In a balanced effort, Adam Baker had 15 points, while Jordan Shepherd scored 12 and both Grant Houck and Scotty Adelman each scored 10.
CRESTVIEW (3-12, 0-9)
Jacob Green 3-1—7, Brevin King 6-0—16, Evan Hamilton 6-1—15, Kameron Goon 2-4—9, Kelton Kissel 1-0—2 TOTALS 18-6—48.
ST. PAUL (9-5, 6-3)
Jake Griffin 3-2—8, Nick Winslow 5-6—13, Nate Winslow 4-3—11, Justin Hammersmith 1-1—3, Brandon Furlong 2-0—6, Ian Kashian 4-0—8, Alex Kashian 2-5—9 TOTALS 21–12—58.
Crestview 11 11 14 13 — 49
St. Paul 16 15 12 15 — 58
3-point FGs: (C) King 4, Hamilton 2 (STP) Ni. Winslow 2, Furlong 2
JV: St. Paul, 56-39.