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Hot start leads Flyers to FC win

By JOE GILROY • Feb 17, 2018 at 12:02 AM

NORWALK — A big first half pushed host St. Paul back above the .500 mark both overall and in the Firelands Conference following Friday’s 57-46 win over Mapleton.

The Flyers (10-9, 7-6) scored the first six points of the game and never trailed — though the Mounties (3-16, 2-11) did put together a big fourth quarter to stay somewhat close.

“In the first half the guys did a nice job of moving the ball around and finding the open man — and we challenged them on defense,” St. Paul coach Mike Smith said. “I feel pretty good about where we are as a team, we have run guys in and out of the lineup all year, due to injuries and we have everybody back now.”

Paul Pearce led the Flyers in the early going, dishing out five assists to go along with 10 points and six rebounds.

St. Paul was consistent all night long and led by as much as 21 late in the third quarter — that’s when the Mounties began there run in the fourth quarter where they scored 25 points after scoring just 21 the rest of the game.

Logan Hensel scored 12 points in the fourth quarter to pull the Mapleton to within a dozen, as Smith was subbing freely.

“We let things get out of control in the fourth quarter,” Smith said. “Overall, I think we played a good game. You can’t allow a fourth quarter like that though, and I think we could have been more aggressive with the basketball.

“We only shot six free throws, and normally we are in the 20s,” he added. “So we will have to look at that and play more aggressively (tonight).”

Jake Griffin stepped up and drilled three 3-pointers in the final quarter to score a team-high 13 points for the Flyers off of the bench. Ian Kashian came off the bench for St. Paul and scored 12 points. Chris Ruffing also scored in double digits with 10 points, giving St. Paul four players that reached the double-digits in the game.

In the junior varsity game, Alex Kashian scored 18 points in a 60-39 win for the Flyers.

Smith knows the Flyers will be tested in tonight’s non-league game against Division II Perkins (11-9).

“We have a good Perkins team to face, they are a bigger school and we like to put teams like that on our schedule to help us get prepared for the tournament,” Smith said.

St. Paul closes out the regular season with a rescheduled game at home Tuesday vs. Tiffin Calvert, then visits South Central on Friday. The Flyers then face Crestline in a Div. IV sectional semifinal on Feb. 27 at Galion High School.

MAPLETON (3-16, 2-11)

Logan Hensel 5-6—17; Adam Shadd 3-2—8; Caleb Ambrose 4-0—11; Austin Miller 1-4—6; Dubois 1-0—2; Sanders 2-4—8. TOTALS 15-12—46.

ST PAUL (10-9, 7-6)

Chris Ruffing 5-0—10; Nick Lukasko 2-0—5; Treg Smith 1-0—2; Jake Griffin 4-2—13; Ian Kashian 6-0—12; Paul Pearce 5-0—11; Kaden Rossman 2-0—4. TOTALS 25-3—57.

Mapleton 7 3 11 25 — 46

St. Paul 12 14 14 17 — 57

3-points: (M) Ambrose 3; Hensel. (SP) Griffen (3) Lukasko.

JV: St. Paul, 60-39.

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