MAYFIELD - The Mayfield Panthers drained seven 3-pointers Thursday, but didn't have enough firepower to keep up with the red-hot Saratoga Central Catholic Saints. The Saints outscored the Panthers 36-20 in the second half to pull away for a 73-46 victory.
Saratoga Catholic (14-2 overall, 10-0 WAC), which hasn't lost in over a month, took advantage of 30 Mayfield turnovers on its way to the win.
The Panthers (6-9 overall, 5-7 WAC) came out with a palpable intensity after honoring the seniors on their roster in a pre-game ceremony.
Mayfield’s Jordan VanNostrand (24) drives past Saratoga Catholic’s Michael Naughton (44) for a first-quarter bucket during Thursday’s Western Athletic Conference North Division game at Mayfield High School. (The Leader-Herald/Shaun Anich)
"That was our plan just to go out and play extremely hard, put everything out on the floor and leave it all out there," said Mayfield head coach Brian VanNostrand. "I told them we have nothing to lose, gentlemen, so go out there and play your hardest."
Seniors Jordan and Luke VanNostrand combined for all of Mayfield's first-quarter points, but Luke was forced out of action after coming down awkwardly and injuring his leg. With VanNostrand out of the game, the Saints scored six straight to take a 13-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. A hobbled VanNostrand reappeared near the end of the second quarter and went on to lead the Panthers with 10 rebounds.
After turning the ball over seven times in the first quarter, the giveaways mounted for Mayfield in the second. The Panthers squandered 10 possessions by way of the turnover, leading to Saratoga Catholic's best offensive quarter of the game. Michael Naughton showed his versatility in the frame for the Saints, nailing two free throws before finishing twice at the rim and hitting once from downtown. Naughton scored nine in the second and went on to finish with a game-high 18. Naughton also led Saratoga Catholic with seven rebounds.
"They've got some runners on the team and I think that was the main thing," VanNostrand said. "They were able to get up and down the floor pretty well. We started to get a little bit tired and started to make mistakes on our end - just mental mistakes."
Despite their miscues, Mayfield was proficient from beyond the arc Thursday. The Panthers connected on six threes in the middle quarters (seven overall), including three from Joe Ringer and two from Josh Gallup.
Down by 14 after an early third-quarter 3-pointer by Saratoga Catholic's Brian Hall, Mayfield used a 9-2 run to crawl back within single-digits. After a three by Gallup cut the Saints' lead to seven, Saratoga Catholic scooped to the hoop at will for 13 straight points. Jay Sweeney knocked down a free throw with 1:15 remaining in the period to stop the bleeding, but the eventual 15-1 scoring burst helped Saratoga Catholic carry a 21-point lead into the fourth quarter. The Saints hit three times from long range in the final stanza to keep Mayfield at bay.
Ringer tallied 11 points to lead Mayfield, while Jordan VanNostrand finished with eight points and six rebounds. Ryan Czarnecki scored 17 points off the bench for Saratoga Catholic, while Hall and Evan Pescetti joined him and Naughton in double-figures.
Mayfield now awaits its matchups for a pair of WAC crossover games next week.
Saratoga Central Catholic 73, Mayfield 46
Saratoga Catholic13 24 20 16 - 73
Mayfield7 19 10 10 - 46
Naughton 7-3-18, Czarnecki 7-1-17, Hall 4-3-12, Pescetti 4-2-10, Murphy 4-0-8, Clare 1-0-3, Schmidt 1-0-3, Seeber 1-0-2. Totals 29-9-73.
Ringer 4-0-11, J. VanNostrand 2-4-8, Gallup 2-0-6, L. VanNostrand 2-1-5, Sweeney 1-1-4, Javarone 1-1-3, Lanza 1-0-3, Briggs 1-0-2, Felter 1-0-2, Yager 1-0-2. Totals 16-7-46.
3 point-goals: Saratoga Catholic 6 (Czarnecki 2, Clare, Schmidt, Hall, Naughton); Mayfield 7 (Ringer 3, Gallup 2, Lanza, Sweeney)