Jamaal Calvin heated up on a couple occasions in McCallie’s clash with region foe Father Ryan, but he just never quite caught fire.
Calvin kept the Blue Tornado close during the back-and-forth third quarter of Friday's Division II-AA East/Middle Region opener, scoring 10 of his team’s 14 points in the period.
He fizzled out in the fourth, though.
“We just put four or five guys on him, hoping somebody could find a way to get their arms on him,” Father Ryan coach Doug Bontrager said. “You’re never going to stop him. (Slate Rider) did a good job guarding Calvin at the end. He’s got longer arms and it made it harder for him to get off shots.”
The 5-10 guard finished with a game-high 27 points, but McCallie (6-5, 0-1) was outscored 19-11 in the decisive fourth quarter and eventually fell to the visiting Irish 60-49.
“I think they did a great job defending (Calvin),” Blue Tornado coach Dan Wadley said. “He had to work for everything he got. They've been playing against him for four years, so they know what he can do."
Calvin added a pair of contested 3-pointers in the fourth, but an 11-3 run by Father Ryan in the first 1:07 put McCallie in a hole it couldn’t dig itself out of.
“They whipped us pretty bad in the fourth quarter,” Wadley said. “We didn’t execute and we didn’t have the effort that we needed. The two Es we talk about are effort and execution. Father Ryan had the effort and execution tonight.”
Rider, one of 11 seniors for the Irish (11-3, 2-0), was the only player to finish in double-figures for his team with 16, but he wasn’t the only one in Father Ryan’s lengthy frontcourt to have success against its undersized counterpart as seniors Trevor Graham and Griffin Connolly, both 6-5, finished with eight and nine points, respectively.
“That’s our plan, try to get easy shots,” Bontrager said. “We felt like their strength was their guards, so at the other end we tried to exploit that and try to score on the inside.”
The Blue Tornado, which led for much of the first half, appeared to be running away with it early in the second quarter after Calvin capped an 8-0 run with back-to-back 3-pointers, stretching its the team’s lead to eight.
McCallie’s spurt was nullified by a string of bad shots and turnovers, though, and Father Ryan closed the first half with an 11-3 run to knot things up at 20-20 at the break.
Seniors Jorden Williams and Erik Wolf each finished with five points for McCallie, which had its three-game winning streak snapped after capturing its second consecutive Best of Preps Tournament championship in last week’s event at Chattanooga State.
The Blue Tornado returns to action Saturday when it hosts Westminster at 4 p.m.