By BRANDON SHRIDER
CAREY — Carey boys basketball coach Jamie Young conceded that Upper Sandusky is the much better team.
That assessment came after the 15-win Rams paired talent with effort to create a lethal attack on both ends of the floor in blitzing the Blue Devils 70-43 in Wednesday’s Northern 10 Conference game.
“That’s three games in a row where we just come out locked in from the start,” Upper coach Jeff Winslow said of his team, which has won its past three games by a combined 109 points.
“We did a really good job of rebounding. Our guards really rebounded well for us tonight. And when you guard the way we guarded with one-and-dones “¦ we’ve got a chance to be pretty successful.”
Upper Sandusky (15-4, 12-2), which remains a game behind Mohawk for first place in the conference standings, started 6-foot-6 senior center Jason Holly to match up with Carey’s 6-8 Hayden Stone. But the Rams did not play anyone else taller than 6-3.
Evan Young (6-2) and Mason Vent (6-3) helped the Rams to a 29-20 rebounding advantage anyway, and helped ignite a 15-2 run to end the first half. Vent and Young led with six rebounds apiece.
Following Griffin Summit’s putback to cut Carey’s (10-7, 7-5) deficit to 25-24, Cole Sowers’ layup started the half-ending run. Four additional Rams scored in the rally — with every basket coming in the paint or at the foul line — led by quick and savvy senior point guard Cameron McCreary’s five points in the final 3:09.
Young, Holly and Vent also scored in the run.
“They just put it on us, plain and simple. You could tell by the way we came out that we were a little shocked,” Jamie Young said of his team that committed four turnovers in the first 1:34 of the game.
“We were taking quick shots, or bad shots, which a lot of times lead to transition buckets. That pressure caused us to panic and it led to easy opportunities for them.”
Vent, who is third in the N10 at 18.3 points per game, led all scorers with 17. McCreary scored 13, Evan Young had 12 and Trevor Clifford added 11.
Stone — the N10 leader in rebounds and blocks per game — pumped in 15 points with eight rebounds and a pair of blocks to lead Carey. Jordan Dasher scored 10.
Upper Sandusky followed a 20-20 first-quarter tie with a 20-6 second quarter to carry a 14-point lead into halftime.
The Rams started the second half as well as they ended the first 16 minutes, using a quick 8-0 run in the first two minutes.
Clifford opened with a quick layup, Vent jumped a passing lane and took his steal coast-to-coast for a layup and McCreary followed with a near-identical play on the ensuing possession. After a Carey timeout, Vent capped the run with an up-and-under layup.
“Upper’s a good team. Their pressure is really good and they just got us all out of whack,” Jamie Young said. “In the halfcourt they’ll run somebody at us, so it gets us moving and then we didn’t make the best decisions. And when we were patient, we were quick to take a shot.
“They just out-efforted us, out-executed us, out-disciplined us and they’re a lot better team than we are.”
Upper Sandusky continued to apply pressure in the second half. The Rams swarmed the boards and showcased brilliant passing from everywhere on the floor to create options at the rim en route to a 28-of-45 (62.2 percent) shooting effort from the field.
The Rams got so comfortable that it became routine that players began interacting with the student section positioned along the sideline on their offensive end.
Vent buried a corner 3-pointer over a leaping Stone to go ahead 62-40, turned and mimicked the launch of a bow-and-arrow. The final bucket of the game was Brett Montgomery’s triple with 1:06 to play, followed by him jawing with his classmates as friendly rivalry chants ensued.
“I think the most important thing is you have to finish the possession with rebounds and that’s what we did tonight,” Winslow said.
“You get off to a start like that and it just kind of snowballs.”
UPPER SANDUSKY (15-4, 12-2 N10)
Vent 7-2–17, McCreary 5-3–13, Young 4-3–12, Clifford 4-3–11, Holly 3-0–6, Sowers 2-2–6, Montgomery 1-0–3, Malone 1-0–2. TOTALS: 27-45 13-19 — 70.
CAREY (10-7, 7-5 N10)
Stone 7-1–15, Dasher 4-0–10, Hoepf 2-0–5, Cade Crawford 2-0–5, Summit 2-1–5, Beringer 1-0–3. TOTALS: 18-64 2-8 — 43.
Upper Sandusky 20 20 14 16 — 70
Carey 20 6 10 7 — 43
3-Point GOALS: Upper Sandusky 3 (Vent, Young & Montgomery 1); Carey 5 (Dasher 2, Cade Crawford, Hoepf & Beringer 1).
REBOUNDS: Upper Sandusky 29 (Vent & Young 6); Carey 20 (Stone 8).
TURNOVERS: Upper Sandusky 6, Carey 11.
JUNIOR VARSITY: Upper Sandusky, 50-49.