Com­ing back from the hol­i­days

Cava­liers over­come shaky start to top Pan­thers

The Calvert Recorder - - Sports - By ANDY STATES as­[email protected]­news.com

Af­ter Patux­ent’s BJ Parker knocked down a three-pointer with 4 min­utes 25 sec­onds re­main­ing in the third quar­ter on Fri­day night, the Pan­thers led their vis­i­tors — county ri­val Calvert — 38-30.

That was the pin­na­cle of the night for the Pan­thers, as the Cava­liers outscored Patux­ent 3015 from that point to grab a 60-53 vic­tory in the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence Ch­e­sa­peake Divi­sion boys bas­ket­ball con­test.

“Com­ing back from the holi- days is the best way to say it,” said Calvert’s Ryan Rachic, who scored 10 of his 17 points in the sec­ond half to help the Cava­liers to the road win. “We were kind of shak­ing off some cook­ies and get­ting back into it. I think it was a good start with the at­mos­phere and how we came back in the sec­ond half. I think it a good les­son and a good teach­ing point for us.”

Calvert (4-3, 1-0 SMAC Ch­e­sa­peake) held a 14-13 ad­van­tage at the end of a quar­ter, but never could build a siz­able work­ing lead against Patux­ent (0-7, 0-1). With Rachic and Liam Aris com­bin­ing to push the Cava­liers to a 6-2 run to open the sec­ond quar­ter, Calvert opened up a 20-15 lead. The Pan­thers hung tight and took a 31-28 lead into the locker room af­ter Chris Fen­wick’s three-pointer with 3.8 sec­onds left broke a 28-28 tie.

While the first half may not have gone as Calvert head coach Jeremy Ku­rutz would have pre­ferred, it was ex­actly the type of game he ex­pected.

“This is the 10th year com­ing down here for me, and it’s skin of your teeth ev­ery time down here,” he said. “We know they’re go­ing to bring their best. They’re go­ing to shoot their best against us down here. They played a heck of a game. It’s what I ex­pected. My guys played hard, too, but when the other team steps up what are you go­ing to do? You just have to keep plug­ging through it.”

Hav­ing strug­gled from long range in the first half, Calvert made a more con­certed ef­fort to drive to the hoop in the sec­ond half. But Patux­ent opened the third quar­ter on a 6-2 run, with Parker’s three ex­tend­ing the

Pan­thers’ lead to eight.

Calvert came right back with a Melvin Davis bas­ket to close to within six. Patux­ent fol­lowed up with a shot clock vi­o­la­tion on its next trip down the floor and the wheels seemed to come off for the hosts from that point.

Rachic scored on the Cava­liers’ next pos­ses­sion to con­tinue what was a 14-4 Calvert run to end the pe­riod. Back-to-back threes from Davis and Aris in the quar­ter’s fi­nal minute put the vis­i­tors in front 44-40 be­fore a buck-

et by Patux­ent’s Noah Bibb pulled the Pan­thers back to within two at quar­ter’s end.

The Cava­liers’ mo­men­tum con­tin­ued into the fi­nal quar­ter as they opened the frame on a 14-3 surge to push their ad­van­tage to 58-45 with 2:51 re­main­ing. Davis scored eight points, in­clud­ing a three-pointer and a tra­di­tional three­p­oint play, in the fourth to spear­head Calver’s clos­ing ef­fort.

“We fig­ured out the de­fense we had to play to stop their guys,” Davis said of the team’s sec­ond-half ef­fort. “We just had to take away [Fen­wick], and once we

did that I thought we were pretty suc­cess­ful. I feel like we’re very se­nior-heavy. I feel like we have a group of guys that are will­ing to work to get bet­ter with each other. Hope­fully we can go deep in the play­offs.”

“I’m just glad that when we got down about eight we buck­led down and came back in­stead of pan­ick­ing,” added Ku­rutz. “We just kept it sim­ple. Chipped away and then took the lead and the next thing you know we’re up 12 points. ... We had a hard time find­ing a de­fense for us that was work­ing. We were a lit­tle bit out of sync. De­fen­sively, I couldn’t get

the right five I wanted in there at times. There was al­ways one guy out of po­si­tion, but they were cre­at­ing things to cause those prob­lems.”

Davis fin­ished with a game-high 20 points, while Rachic added 17. Aris chipped in an­other nine for the Cava­liers, who are sched­uled to host Leonard­town at 6:30 tonight.

Patux­ent boasted some bal­ance in the score­book, with Fen­wick and Parker both scor­ing 15 points, while Bibb added 14. But the Pan­thers’ lack of depth hurt them in the end, as the team ap­peared to run out of gas.

“I want to say that was the same deal with Chop­ti­con, the same deal with Leonard­town, the same deal when we played West­lake here and the same deal tonight,” Patux­ent head coach RJ Buck said. “We’re just not deep enough right now to hold peo­ple off for four quar­ters. We play bas­ket­ball real well for three quar­ters and then we just run out of gas.

“Guys get tired, foul trou­ble hurts us. It’s re­ally tough right now. ... We just have to find ways in prac­tice to get guys bet­ter so that we can im­prove and ex­tend the bench a lit­tle more.”

Patux­ent is set to travel to Great Mills at 6:30 tonight. Buck hopes his squad will build upon what it showed for the first 2 1/2 quar­ters against Calvert.

“The guys played with a lot of en­ergy tonight. That im­pressed me,” he said. “They ac­cepted the chal­lenge. We knew go­ing into the game that Calvert was a pretty tal­ented team. We’ve been strug­gling of late against teams with a lit­tle more tal­ent than we do, but they re­ally fought tonight. They played great de­fense for three quar­ters. ... They played hard.”

STAFF PHOTO BY ANDY STATES

Calvert’s Melvin Davis scored a game-high 20 points in the Cava­liers’ 60-53 win at Patux­ent on Fri­day night.

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