The Panthers found themselves trailing 27-19 at intermission, fell behind by 13 points early in the second half, then found the shooting touch for a seven-minute span and narrowed the deficit to a single point (39-38) at the 7:33 mark of the final quarter on a 3-point bucket by Pete Doyle.
However, Calvert regained control from that point on for a 61-52 victory.
The Senecas converted 10 of 15 free throws down the stretch to stave off the long-range bombs fired up by the Panthers, who actually had a 35-34 margin in second-half point production.
“Overall I was pleased with the effort and the fact we came back to get into a position to win. Our passing in the first half was not what we wanted, but that is correctable,” coach Lyle Falknor said. “I saw some bright spots tonight and our kids played hard and worked hard during the week. It’s always tough to lose but we will come back (at Fostoria St. Wendelin tonight) and give it another try.
“They used a match-up on us and their press did not hurt us overall, but it did speed up the game and they made their shots and we didn’t,” Falknor said.
SMCC was on the short end of a 9-8 score after the opening quarter when both teams had problems scoring. Calvert was 3-of-14 and SMCC 4-of-14 from the field.
Calvert warmed up considerably in the second period and sank its first six field goal attempts to vaulted to a 22-12 lead before the Panthers called time-out at the 4:34 mark.
The half-time count was 27-19 and SMCC had just 6-of-23 from the floor compared to 11-of-25 for the visitors who returned three starters from last year’s 11-10 team.
In the third quarter, the Panthers finally got in the rhythm and Pat Sennish ht a pair of three-pointers and Chad Schlett used his size to advantage inside and suddenly the Panthers were back in the game.
Then came the trey by Doyle to open the fourth quarter, but Calvert’s Derek Fry took things in his hands and produced 16 of his game-high 18 points in the second half, and two long-ranged baskets in the third period helped keep his team in front.
“We had a chance to take the lead but missed one from close range, then turned the ball over and give them credit. They used their quickness, then went to the line and hit their free throws. We were nine of 13, and that’s very good for an opener, but Calvert was 19 of 30 and we gave them way to many shots in that area,” Falknor said.
Pat Sennish and Schlett each scored 12 points for the Panthers and Brian Ferber followed with nine points and a game-high 12 rebounds as SMCC won that battle, but finished 18 of 54 in the shooting department while Calvert cashed in on 20 of 45 offerings.
In the JV contest, also won by Calvert, 58-43, the difference was also at the line (21-of-30 for the Senecas). Joe Youskievicz tallied 14 points, Alex Opfer 11 and Jacob Williams eight for SMCC.