By ANDY WOLF
A few late flurries of Port Clinton turnovers snowballed right into the hands of Fostoria High’s full-court press.
The Redmen forced 18 of their 29 turnovers in the second half and capitalized on enough to pull away for a 55-49 nonleague victory in their boys basketball season opener on Friday.
“The way we played the whole fourth quarter, but especially that last 41/2 minutes, we amped up the intensity of what we were doing instead of playing it kind of soft,” Fostoria coach Thom Loomis said. “… When we get people to turn it over and we can run, we’re pretty tough to handle, and we knew that.
“After seeing them Wednesday against Woodmore, we knew they weren’t deep.”
Bryan Stenson led the Redmen (1-0) with 16 points and was one of three FHS players with four steals.
Dom Settles (12 points) and Devin Mauricio (six rebounds, two blocks) each had a quartet of steals, as well. Jonathan Banks added six points, six rebounds and three steals.
Port Clinton freshman Adam Thorbahn scored a game-high 22 points with four 3-pointers.
Loomis noted their pregame plan of wearing down the Redskins (0-2) over the course of the game.
It worked like a charm.
In the final 4:16 in a 47-47 deadlock, Fostoria’s press generated eight turnovers — all steals, three by Mauricio and two by Stenson.
The Redmen took the lead on Settles’ free throw with 3:56 remaining and Zach Ward quickly tacked on a paint bucket off a Mauricio feed.
Port Clinton survived its next two turnovers and got a score by Dylan Simpson to pull back within one point at 50-49.
But the Redskins wouldn’t score in the final three minutes.
Meanwhile, Fostoria was cashing in off easy opportunities created by their steals.
Stenson got fouled on a fast-break off a steal and hit a free throw and, 30 seconds later, scored off Mauricio’s assist after a quick change of possession via his steal to go up 53-49.
Port Clinton failed to make it a one-score game again as Tyler Webb missed the front end of two free throws with 36.8 remaining and the Redmen made enough at the foul line (2 of 6) to keep things from getting interesting the rest of the way.
“We handled the pressure pretty well in the first half, stayed composed,” Port Clinton coach Ryan Hicks said. “That second half, their athleticism kind of bothered us a little bit.
“We’ve just got to take care of it better, shot ourselves in the foot.”
Fostoria’s early foul trouble limited its press in the second quarter where Port Clinton opened up a 29-21 halftime edge.
That deficit grew to 13 points as Thorbahn knocked down a jumper and a 3-ball to start the third quarter.
Fostoria chipped away at it in a similar flurry with five forced turnovers in the final 2:33 to trail 41-39 entering the final frame.
Thorbhan, who totaled eight points in the second quarter and seven in the third, had just four in the fourth.
“I told Thorbahn after the game if he keeps working at it, he’s going to be a heck of a player,” Loomis said. “… He got 22 but we did a good job of limiting everybody else from going off on us.”
For Fostoria, Avondre Reed added 11 points, six rebounds and two assists.
Ward scored all six of his points in the fourth quarter — all in the paint — much to the delight of Loomis.
“His first real meaningful varsity action of any kind,” Loomis said of the sophomore. “…For a young kid, he has a real bright future. He’s a kid who loves the game and those were meaningful minutes that we got out of him at both ends.”
PORT CLINTON (0-2)
Auxter 1-2–5, Preston 0-0–0, Thorbahn 8-2–22, Stine 2-4–8, Simpson 3-3–9, Manning 0-0–0, Webb 0-0–0, Klima 1-3–5. TOTALS: 15-36 14-17–49.
Settles 4-1–12, Mauricio 1-0–2, Reed 4-3–11, Carter-Stokes 1-0–2, Banks 2-2–6, Williams 0-0–0, Stenson 5-6–16, Ward 3-0–6, Fant 0-0–0. TOTALS: 20-56 12-21–55.
Port Clinton 9 20 12 8 — 49
Fostoria 8 13 18 16 — 55
3-Point GOALS: Port Clinton 5-15 (Thorbahn 4, Auxter); Fostoria 3-15 (Settles 3).
rebounds: Port Clinton 31 (Stine 14); Fostoria 31 (Mauricio & Reed 6).
turnovers: Port Clinton 29; Fostoria 16.
junior varsity: Port Clinton, 45-16.