Foul trouble. Turnovers. Extended runs for each side.
Sandusky St. Mary coach Lyle Falknor called his team's game at Calvert, the season opener for both teams, "a typical first game."
Each team had its ups and downs, but for the Panthers, the good outweighed the bad as they held off a late charge to leave town with an 80-71 win.
Injuries have already had an impact on a Calvert roster that was full of youth and inexperience coming into the season.
That may have shown early as St. Mary put up the game's first seven points, and forced 10 first quarter turnovers as the Panthers led 17-12 after one.
In the second quarter however, Calvert seemingly began to settle into the game, taking advantage of St. Mary's foul trouble and climbing out to a 36-23 lead.
"At times, our young guys did some really good things," Calvert coach Ted Willman said. "You could tell at times, some of the younger guys didn't maybe make the right read because they were in a hurry to try to make a play. When we slowed ourselves down, throttled back and made the right read and made the right pass, we did some good things."
Brian Gruss put up nine of his team-high 15 points in the second quarter, and Donavon Stith came off the bench to score six in the frame.
"'Cause of our unknown with our guys, we knew we were going to play eight, nine guys. So we're out there subbing guys in and out saying, 'OK, lets try this,' and we had a group of guys that were making plays," Willman said. "Maybe it was quickness, maybe it was a combination of everything. They had some guys out 'cause of foul trouble, so we're, like, 'OK, let's try and do this. Let's just try to make some plays with the group of guys we have out there,' and we found a group of guys that worked. We might turn around Tuesday and it might be a totally different group of five guys.
"Our guys did a good job of communicating what we were supposed to do defensively. And we were talking, our angles were pretty good. We got some turnovers in transition, and we knocked some shots down that second quarter."
However, St. Mary went on an 11-2 run to end the half. Caleb Severance came off the bench to score five of those 11 points as the Panthers cut Calvert's lead to 38-34 at the break.
"I think that was huge," Faulknor said. "It could've very easily ended up 20, and I had guys on the bench with fouls. The second group that got out there started clicking a bit, it took them a little bit of time to get into it, but they cut that down for us. I can't say enough about that. Depth is huge."
The start of the third quarter looked similar to the start of the game as St. Mary's press forced Calvert into numerous turnovers, while the Panthers began to knock down shots on the offensive end.
A Ryan Myers 3-pointer two minutes into the third quarter gave the lead back to St. Mary and the Panthers never gave it back.
"I think we just settled down a little bit," Faulknor said. "We passed the ball a little bit better, handled it a little better and got better shots. I think we broke them down a little bit in the offense, and made that extra pass and got some layups.
"I just think we scored. We went through a drought there the second quarter where we didn't score. We had two points for a long time. Makes it a lot easier when you're putting the ball in the basket."
"We came out the third quarter, I think we turned the ball over once or twice, and then they started knocking a couple shots down. We lost a couple guys in transition and they had open-look 3s and they knocked them down. Those shots the first half, they weren't knocking down, and they were missing and we were able to go in transition and get some buckets to get back in the game and build a lead."
St. Mary hit five from behind the arc in the third quarter as it took a 61-49 into the fourth.
The Panthers worked the lead to 74-56 before Calvert launched one final charge.
Calvert scored the next 12 points to climb back into the game, and Austin Ball knocked down a 3-pointer to get the Senecas within five at 76-71 with 30 seconds left.
But St. Mary hit four straight from the foul line to seal the game.
"You want to give yourself a chance, and we fought back to give ourselves a chance," Willman said. "Just down the stretch, they made some foul shots when they had to. Give them credit, they made shots on their runs. When they made runs, we just couldn't offensively stop the bleeding, to get a bucket in those situations."
Gruss led four Senecas in double figures. Ball finished one rebound short of a double-double with 14 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Stith added 12 points and Mike Bennett chipped in 11.
Myers scored 20 to lead St. Mary. Melvin Jackson added 15 and Denarius Harris finished with 11.