CAREY - It is one of those lines the so-called experts love to throw out there.
There is the hard stare into the camera, sometimes with furrowed brow, and the nodding head for an emphatic show of self-importance. "It's not how you start; it's how you finish."
Yeah? Try telling that one to Buckeye Central's Phil Loy.
Loy's eighth-ranked Bucks ran into a big-time early buzz saw in falling to Carey 79-66 in a Saturday night showdown of league-leaders.
For the Midland Athletic League's Blue Devils, who ran their record to 14-3, it was all about the start, a start so impressive the finish didn't matter.
The Blue Devils, primarily Bryan Powers and Zach Boes, knocked down their first eight shots, including four 3-pointers, to take command before the battle lines really had a chance to form.
Powers canned four 3-pointers in the quarter and Boes added a fifth as Carey opened leads of 18-4 in the first three minutes, 26-7 a couple minutes later and 32-12 by the quarter break.
"The kids knew coming in we needed a signature win if we wanted to have any shot at a No. 1 seed (in the Division III sectional at Findlay)," Carey coach C.J. Kin said. "The kids knew what was a stake and they came out and, that first quarter we played was probably the best first quarter I've seen here in a long, long time and even overall."
Powers, who led Carey with 31 points, had 17 of those in the first quarter. The Blue Devils made 11-of-14 from the field, including 5-of-6 from 3-point range in the quarter. They also hit all five of their free throw attempts.
"It was really nice hitting all those shots," Powers said. "I made sure I got my game shots during pregame shoot-around and I was hitting during shoot-around, so I was hoping it would carry over to the game."
"Bryan, he's a good shooter, but he can really be streaky," Kin said. "When he gets hot, he really gets hot. He's so hard to guard anyway with how quick he is and how high he can jump. I just told him to keep shooting."
Boes was nearly as impressive with 20 points for the night, 11 of them in the first period. He was also the game's top rebounder with nine.
"I thought it was amazing," he said. "Coming in, I just felt like we were going to play amazing. Everybody was hitting shots before the game. Jared (Wentling) was dunking it before the game, Bryan was dunking it, the energy was just really high."
Not surprisingly, the Blue Devils weren't quite able to maintain such a torrid run all night. But that didn't matter. The damage was done.
Carey led 47-26 at the half and was up by as many as 22 at 54-32 with 5:15 to go in the third quarter.
North Central Conference leader Buckeye Central (14-2) trimmed it to 71-60 with 1:40 to play. But Laine Wentling hit a 3-pointer off an inbound pass, his third long ball of the game, to seal it.
Loy called it a tip-your-cap type of performance by Carey.
"I'm looking at the shot chart on the I-pad and thinking, 'holy crap,'" he said. "They shot unbelievable, mainly Powers. We did a good job on Jared Wentling (six points, seven rebounds). But what are you going to do? Nobody was going to beat them tonight when they're scoring 32 in the first quarter and shooting the ball the way they did."
Laine Wentling had 11 points and Matthew Holsinger added eight for the Blue Devils. Cade Kaple hit four 3-pointers on the way to 25 points and Austin Wurm added 20 for the Bucks. Each had five rebounds.
"I don't think we played that bad," Loy said. "You know, we didn't play our best but we didn't play that bad to be down 20 or whatever it was in the first quarter. They just played unbelievable.
"If they play like that, I wouldn't want to see them," he said. "They would beat some pretty good teams but it's hard to repeat that kind of performance."
But it will do for starters.