Melvin Jackson scored 19 points, Denarius Harris added 15, and St. Mary Central Catholic avenged an earlier loss to Clyde Tuesday night in Sandusky Bay Conference action.
The Panthers (15-4, 8-4) held Clyde (13-5, 7-5) standout Derek Gray to just five points, all on free throws, en route to a 62-41 road win.
“It feels great. It puts us in a position to finish above them in the league if we play well the rest of the way,” SMCC coach Lyle Falknor said. “It feels really good.”
The Panthers shot 46 percent from the field while holding Clyde to just 31 percent shooting.
After four lead changes in the first quarter, Jackson connected on a 3-pointer to give the Panthers a 15-11 lead heading into the second quarter.
Back-to-back turnovers by SMCC led to baskets by Collin Rieman and Colin Gregory to tie the game up at 15.
The Panthers went on a scoring drought that lasted almost six minutes, but Justin Fraser converted an and-one play, and then drained back-to-back three's sandwiched around an Alex Marshall 3-pointer to go up 24-18.
“Our shot selection was much better tonight,” Falknor said. “Obviously when you are making them it's always going to feel a lot better. It didn't seem like we forced that many shots tonight. We took the ball to the basket. Fraser came in during the first half and really gave us a lift with a couple of three's.”
The Panthers came out of halftime with an eight-point lead, and broke it open with six straight points to open the third quarter.
Clyde managed to finish the quarter on an 11-8 run, but the Panthers left no doubts in the fourth, scoring 20 points to the Fliers' 10 to return the favor of a home loss.
“We got beat in just about every aspect of the game that you can get beat in,” Clyde coach Ryan Carter said. “We got out shot, out hustled, and out rebounded.”
The Fliers have played six games in the last 12 days.
“We just seemed disinterested in playing the basketball game tonight,” Carter said. “At this point of the season, if you start playing disinterested against a really good basketball team, the outcome is going to be 62-41.
“Right now mentally, more than physically, we need to fix our demeanor towards the game,” he added. “We came out with a lackluster effort and attitude tonight and it showed. You can't do that against anybody, let alone a good basketball team like St. Mary.”
Gregory led Clyde with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting and eight rebounds.
Jackson added three steals to his 19 points for St. Mary, while Harris grabbed 10 rebounds to go with his 15.
“Melvin played a very nice game tonight,” Falknor said. “He does a great job harassing the other guards and just does a good job defensively.”