By ANDY WOLF
Blink and you might miss any Fostoria High boys basketball player sprinting down the court for another easy layup created in transition or off turnovers.
The Redmen’s uptempo style was on full display Tuesday night in an 81-61 rout of Seneca East in nonleague play.
Fostoria (7-12) went into halftime up 49-25 after an 8-0 run capped by Maalik Tucker’s running, no-look, behind-his-head bank shot at the buzzer.
Tucker was already cutting to the hoop as teammate Bryan Stenson recorded a steal at halfcourt and quickly fired Tucker’s way.
“It was hope for the best,” said Tucker of throwing up an answered prayer.
Tucker finished with a game-high 16 points and tallied seven rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block.
Aneas Cousin added 15 points, five rebounds and three steals while Stenson chipped in 14 points, three rebounds, four steals and three assists off the bench.
Tyler Turek, a 6-foot-5 senior center, posted a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds to lead Seneca East (6-12).
Collectively, the Redmen forced 21 turnovers off of 15 steals.
They were playing fast and under control.
Fostoria committed only eight turnovers, much to the delight of coach Thom Loomis.
“That was a big, big focus for us tonight, leading up to tonight in practice,” Loomis said. “… In the pregame I said ’12 turnovers or less is three turnovers a quarter. ‘We cannot afford to have any quarters where we have bad runs.'”
Fostoria never trailed and led 15-7 early after a pair of coast-to-coast steals by Tucker and Cousin.
Seneca East’s D.J. Ruffing canned an open 3-pointer to answer.
The Redmen were only warming up.
Their 18-0 run spanned the final minutes of the first quarter and the first two minutes of the second to take a commanding 33-10 lead, forcing a Seneca East timeout at the 5:33 mark.
Dylan Sheets scored twice to start the run that also included a 3-pointer by Devin Mauricio off an inside-out pass by Avondre Reed.
Reed, who came off the bench, then scored on a long outlet pass off Alex Sierra’s rebound from the left block.
Reed also scored two transition buckets to continue the run into the second quarter, one off Tucker’s full-court outlet heave, before Stenson capped it going coast-to-coast off a steal.
“We want to play fast and stay under control when we do that,” Tucker said. “It’s really hard for teams to really stop us.
“We do that in practice. That’s always how we played. That’s always how we’ll continue to play.”
“We know where everyone’s at. Our IQ is not that bad, but our court vision is real nice and we can see who’s open and not open.”
Seneca East did get a second wind as Jake Forehand drained two 3-pointers in a 10-2 run that pulled his team within 35-20.
Loomis took a timeout and told his team “don’t watch the scoreboard.”
“We’ve got to play like we’re down two (points),” he said.
Fostoria made it all back in a hurry on its 8-0 run to end the second quarter and never let the Tigers within 20 points the rest of the way.
Reed finished with nine points, two assists and two blocks. Sheets (four steals), Mauricio (four assists) and Eli Ward had six points each.
Alex Sierra added seven points.
For Seneca East, Clint Wurm had seven points and two steals. Ruffing had eight points and Andrew Kalb scored 11 points off the bench.
Seneca East coach Chris Long said Fostoria’s length and athleticism caused problems for his squad.
“We’ve got to get to the point where you have to take something away or make them one-dimensional” Long said. “It was in our best interest to force long shots and be able to go get rebounds.
“The issue is when you don’t make shots and turn the ball over, then you’re defeating the purpose of (it). The fact of the matter is, the next thing you know you’re down 10-12.”
SENECA EAST (6-12)
Siesel 2-0–5, Wurm 2-2–7, Ruffing 3-0–8, Turek 4-4–12, Bauman 2-0–4, Forehand 2-0–6, Bridgeford 1-0–2, Kalb 5-0–11. TOTALS: 23-50 6-11–61.
Sheets 3-0–6, Mauricio 2-0–6, Cousin 7-0–15, Ward 3-0–6, Tucker 8-0–16, Sierra 3-1–7, Reed 4-1–9, Stenson 6-2–14. TOTALS: 37-69 4-10–81.
Seneca East 10 15 19 17 — 61
Fostoria 26 23 22 10 — 81
3-Point GOALS: Seneca East 9-17 (Forehand, Ruffing & Daniel 2, Wurm, Kalb & Siesel 1); Fostoria 3-17 (Mauricio 2, Cousin).
rebounds: Seneca East 32 (Turek 13); Fostoria 33 (Tucker 7).
turnovers: Seneca East 21; Fostoria 8.
junior varsity: Fostoria, 74-58.