FOSTORIA - The early elementary-aged schoolboy in Calvert garb, armed with a bottle of water on his return trip from the concession stand midway through the second quarter, had a singleness of purpose.
His focus was such that a little thing like a varsity basketball game wasn't going to get in the way. The 11th man on the floor in this instance simply flashed from one sideline across the lane to the other sideline and then up the stage steps to visitor seating.
It would be quite a while before either of the scheduled combatants, St. Wendelin and Calvert, could claim the same. The two teams combined to shoot 29 percent from the field, 20 percent from 3-point range and 41 percent from the foul line with 58 turnovers.
But Zack Miller scored a go-ahead basket with 2:46 to play and sophomore sub Donovan Scudder hit 3-of-4 from the line in the final 31 seconds to put the cap on St. Wendelin's 38-34 Midland Athletic League win over the Senecas here Friday night.
"We're still real young and we need to learn how to play with a lead, how to play with a little more consistency," St. Wendelin coach Jim Rutter said after his club won its initial league game and evened its overall record at 1-1.
"One thing I was happy with is the way we were able to apply pressure defensively," he said. "We were finally able to get the kids to understand what we're trying to do in applying pressure and there were a lot of times when they did a good job with that."
Calvert struggled offensively with eight turnovers in the first quarter, 16 by halftime and 31 for the game. Those numbers should automatically signal doom, but when the Senecas weren't in the process of inducing 27 SW turnovers, they watched as the Mohawks labored through 3-of-20 shooting from 3-point range.
In other words, at least the frustration was evenly distributed. Then again, maybe not.
"In the first half, we missed eight layups," said Calvert coach Ted Willman, whose team fell to 0-3 overall, two of the losses in league play.
"That makes things that much harder for you," Willman said. "Those times when you're getting what you want, getting the shot you want, but you can't finish the play, those really hurt."
Brady Rutter hit a couple of 3-pointers and scored eight of his team-high 10 points in the first half as the Mohawks eased out to a 17-14 lead.
Nick Root fed Gabe Walters for two inside baskets to start the third period and Nick Schumaker, who matched Rutter's 10-point effort, drove for two and then hit a 3-pointer. Root's jumper in the lane completed an 11-4 run that gave St. Wendelin a 28-18 lead.
But Calvert scored the next seven points, six of them by Mike Bennett, who topped the visitors with 10 points and seven rebounds, in making sure the Senecas were going to go the distance.
Both had chances, but the Mohawks eventually had the upper hand.
After Miller's inside score broke a 32-32 tie, Schumaker added a foul shot for a 35-32 edge. Then with 1:03 to go, a scramble for a loose ball got out of hand and Calvert's Dan Reineke and St. Wendelin's Root were ejected.
Scudder, who saw time earlier in the second half, returned and eventually made the clinching foul shots.
"Donovan stepped up nice for us at the end," Rutter said. "We had a lot of kids give us contributions. But the big thing for us was on defense. We were able to change up some things on them and maybe create a little doubt.
"Warnement (Nick, out with a hand injury) is such a nice player that, without him, they struggled a little bit," he said. "He was Player of the Year in the district and we were hoping with him out, we might be able to create a little confusion for them. I think we did that,"
Austin Ball, playing the point in Warnement's absence, and Reineke each scored six points for the Senecas.
"There were times when we were just in too much of a hurry," Willman said. "We don't know when we're going to get that veteran presence back in the lineup, so we're just going to have to grow up a little bit and keep working.
"We're doing some things well in practice. We just have to take what we do well in the practice and transfer it to the game."