MAYFIELD -The Mayfield Panthers clawed their way back from a 15-5 first-quarter deficit to trail Saratoga Catholic by a basket at the end of the first half.
However, an 11-0 run by the Saints to open the third quarter stole all the momentum the Panthers built in the second period as Saratoga Catholic cruised to a 52-36 Western Athletic Conference North?Division victory Friday night at Mayfield High School.
"We had all the momentum in the world heading into halftime and we even had it when we came out [of the locker room]," Mayfield coach Brian VanNostrand said. "You have to give the credit to Spa. They got hot in the third quarter. I don't know what it was. Once they started hitting and we began missing shots our guys got frustrated and got down."
Mayfield’s Jordan VanNostrand (14) drives past Saratoga Catholic’s Keegan Murphy (10) for a lay up during Friday night’s Western Athletic Conference game at Mayfield High School. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
Mayfield (4-5 overall, 3-4 WAC North) grabbed an early 4-2 lead before Keegan Murphy led the Saints in a 13-1 run to close out the opening period with a 15-5 advantage.
The Panthers rallied back in the second period. Dylan Toscano started the rally with a 3-pointer as five players contributed to Mayfield's offensive surge, outscoring Spa Catholic 17-7 to trim the Saints 10-point lead to two, 22-20.
Spa Catholic opened the second half aggressively on defense to force early turnovers by the Panthers, which they converted to into a three-minute, 11-0 run to build a 33-22 advantage.
Jordan VanNostrand broke the run with a basket for the Panthers with 5 minutes left in the period.
The Saints continued their hot shooting with Brian Hall and Jesse Winters connecting from behind the 3-point arc to help Saratoga Catholic outscore Mayfield 23-6 in the period and carry a 45-26 advantage into the final quarter.
Luke VanNostrand and Brandon Smith connected on baskets in the opening minute of the quarter, but the momentum and luck stayed on the side of the Saints.
With the shot clock winding down Hall chased down a loose ball and heaved it toward the basket as he fell out of bounds.
As the shot clock expired, the ball banked off the backboard and through the net for a 3-pointer.
"When he hit that one I sat down and didn't know what else to expect," VanNostrand said. "It definitely was their night especially in the second half."
Hall finished with all seven of the Saints fourth-quarter points as they closed out the 52-36 victory.
Hall led the Saints with 16 points, including three 3-pointers, while Murphy added 12 points. The Saints defense forced Mayfield to turn the ball over 17 times.
"In the second quarter, I thought we did a good job stopping them and then in the second half they came on," VanNostrand said. "We knew going in that they are strong in the second half; we just couldn't hang with them."
Toscano finished with nine points for the Panthers, while Luke VanNostrand, Jordan VanNostrand and Ryan Hennessy had six points apiece.
Smith, Hennessy and Luke VanNostrand all pulled down five rebounds apiece.
Mayfield will start its second trip through the Western Athletic Conference North Division competition Tuesday on the road against Fort Plain. The game is set to begin at 7:30 p.m.
Saratoga Catholic 52, Mayfield 36
Saratoga Catholic15 7 23 7 - 52
Mayfield5 15 6 10 - 36
Naughton 2-0-4, Murphy 6-0-12, Coons 2-0-6, Spicer 3-0-7, Hall 6-1-16, Czarnecki 2-0-4, Winters 1-0-3. Totals: 22-1-52.
Toscano 3-0-9, Smith 2-1-5, Sweeney 1-0-2, L. VanNostrand 3-0-6, Hennessy 2-2-6, J. VanNostrand 3-0-6, Gallup 1-0-2. Totals: 16-3-36.
3-point goals: Saratoga Catholic 7 (Hall 3, Coons 2, Winters, Spicer); Mayfield 1 (Toscano).