A defense, one that playing without two starters, pressured every Plymouth shot for four quarters, then applied even more pressure in an overtime period and shut out the Big Red in the Flyers 51-44 overtime win Friday in Firelands Conference boys’ basketball action.
St. Paul (4-12, 4-8) had to play without seniors Tyler Dilger and Tom Bartow, both sat out due to injuries.
Bartow might be ready for tonight’s final home game against Sandusky St. Mary Central Catholic. Dilger remains questionable due to a knee injury.
“We showed some toughness tonight,” St. Paul coach Mike Smith said. “Our defense was great. We hit free throws (9-of-10 for the game) and we kept our mistakes (12) to a minimum. It was a good high school game. The kids can hold their heads high after this one.”
It was a game of mini-runs. St. Paul went out to a 6-0 lead before Plymouth (4-8, 6-10), behind the shooting senior Ryan Benfer took a 9-8 lead.
Connor Smith’s goal late in the period helped the host team take a 12-9 advantage at the end of one.
Troy Keene’s team then scored the first seven points of the second quarter but, like St. Paul, couldn’t hold the lead. An Erik Stanbery three-point play tied the game at 17-17.
Plymouth, which was 10-of-20 from the field in the first half compared to 9-of-30 for the Flyers, still managed just a 23-21 lead at halftime.
It was 23-23 thanks to a Kurt Walliser put-back. Adam Smith then took it coast-to-coast to give the Flyers a a 34-33 at the end of three.
St. Paul built its biggest lead of the game at 40-33 early in the final quarter after a three-point play by Walliser and a three-ball from Adam Smith.
But the Big Red cut it to 34-33 after three.
Flyer turnovers would almost be their downfall in the final eight minutes, including three in a 90-second span. The last one would set up a Craig Miller goal with 26 seconds left that gave the Plymouth its first lead in the second half.
With time running out, Walliser put up a baseline 12-footer that hit the iron, bounced high and dropped through the net. It came with 9.4 seconds left.
The Smith Boys would then get it done for St. Paul in the extra session.
Adam Smith got a break-away goal for the first two points. Connor Smith rainbowed two in from the stripe.
Adam Smith followed with two more from the foul line and when Connor added another with 1:37 left. The Flyers were up by what would eventually be the final numbers.
Plymouth, after going 20-of-40 from the floor in regulation time, missed all eight shots in the extra session. In their defense, four of those came from far above the arc.
“This is two weeks in a row we did not finish,” Keene said. “It seems like when we get into the fourth quarter we can’t throw it into the ocean from the boat.”
Benfer led both teams with 21 points. Kyle Reinhart was next with nine points.
Plymouth was 2-of-4 from the line with 13 turnovers and 25 rebounds, eight retrieved by Blake Picklesimer.
Adam Smith led the Flyers with 16, Walliser had 11 and Stanbery nine.
St. Paul showed 20-of-51 numbers from the field (1-of- from above the arc) with 12 mistakes and 30 rebounds, led by seven from Seth Kramer. Three happened in the first 90 seconds of the overtime.
The Flyer reserve team bumped their record to 11-5 after a 47-31 win.
It again was scoring by committee for Mel Browns’ team. Michael Griffin led the way with eight points and Sal Sortino had seven.
Plymouth (8-8) received nine points from Jeremiah Crager and seven from Levi Myers.
The Big Red are scheduled to play Crestview Friday.
St. Paul 51
Adam Smith 6-2-16, Stanbery 3-3-9, Kramer 3-0-6, Connor Smith 2-3-7, Walliser 5-1-11, Hinckley 1-0-2. Totals 20-9-51.
Pickelsimer 2-0-5, Miller 3-1-7, Benfer 10-1-21, Reinhart 4-0-9, Hicks 1-0-2. Totals 20-2-44.
Score by quarters
St. Paul 12 9 13 10 7 — 51
Plymouth 9 14 10 11 0 — 44
St. Paul 47
Kocher 2-0-6, Griffin 4-0-8, Sortino 3-0-7, Dankelson 3-0-6, Newcomer 1-0-3, Ross 1-2-4, Ghazoul 2-1-5, Stang 1-0-2, Thomas 0-2-2, Byrd 2-0-4. Totals 19-5-47
Elkins 2-1-6, Crager 3-3-9, Gillum 1-0-2, Kaney 1-0-2, Endicott 1-0-3, Campbell 1-0-2, Myers 3-1-7. Totals 12-5-31.
Score by quarters
St. Paul 10 13 14 10 — 47
Plymouth 4 3 10 14 — 31