Both Calvert and St. Paul were faced with that situation on Saturday night.
It was St. Paul that pulled away in the second half, knocking off the Senecas, 61-53, in non-league action at Calvert High School.
"They are a good team," St. Paul coach Mike Smith said. "They have some tough losses and some good wins in their schedule. I thought it was a challenge to play here especially. It is a smaller court. It is always a tough place to play."
After a tie at halftime, the Flyers (7-4) pushed their lead to as many as six points on three different occasions in the third quarter, but Calvert (7-5) fought back.
A 3-pointer by Hunter Hendrix drew the Senecas within a point early in the fourth quarter. Later, St. Paul was still clinging to a one-point lead, but that was about the time that Josh Recker left the game with an injury, giving the Flyers an opening.
"Josh is our horse inside," Calvert coach Jon Otterbacher said. "He does a great job defensively, offensively, and rebounding. He lays everything on the line for the team. He is the heart of our inside and when he is not there, that takes out a huge piece of our game."
Kashian scored again down low before Nick Winslow drilled a 3-pointer. After a timeout, Winslow split two free throws and Justin Hammersmith registered his only bucket of the night, pushing the Flyers ahead, 52-43, with 4:27 left.
"St. Paul exploited it," said Otterbacher of Recker's absence. "They knew what they were doing. They have a good coaching staff over there. They knew with a sub coming in that he was cold and not ready for the game. They went inside right away."
Calvert was only able to cut the lead to seven points at best, but never any closer. The last time came when Nick Seifert scored on a putback, but St. Paul scored the next six points for a 60-47 lead.
"We did not do a very good job of getting back in transition defense," Otterbacher said. "We lost (Winslow) and gave up an offensive rebound because we were scrambling to find him. That one possession turned into two or three possessions quickly."
After making just five of their first 14 free throws, the Flyers made 6 of 9 down the stretch to ice the win.
"We are decent. We are around 65 percent on the year," Smith said. "I think we are a better free throw shooting team than that. We were hoping it would not slip away and get closer because we missed some free throws."
Hendrix was nearly unstoppable early on for the Senecas. He tallied eight of Calvert's first 10 points as the Senecas led, 10-8. Winslow hit a 3 and a score from Kashian helped the Flyers to a 15-14 lead after eight minutes.
St. Paul extended the lead to 23-18 in the second quarter, but buckets but Recker and Somodi on an offensive rebound cut the lead back to one point. Furlong hit a 3 and the Flyers led, 27-24 later, but Somodi's triple from the left side tied the game at halftime.
"You want to see the energy on the second night of a back-to-back," Smith said. "We do have depth, so I am not really concerned about that. We are used to playing on the bigger court, so the smaller court helped our conditioning."
Calvert shot just seven free throws including none in the first half.
"I think we should have been more aggressive," Otterbacher said. "I think we fell in love with the three-point line early. When you hit a couple early, it is almost a detriment to the game flow."
Somodi paced the Senecas with 18 points and nine rebounds. After 10 points in the first 8:23 of the game, Hendrix added just the three points the rest of the way.
"Hunter had a great game," Otterbacher said. "He shoots wide open 3s all the time. We like it when he shoots the 3, but he needs to get to the basket."
Nick Winslow tallied 19 points while Kashian scored 16 points. Nick's twin brother, Nate Winslow, added 12 points.
"I thought our kids played a complete game," Smith said. "I do not think it was sloppy. It is a good win for us. I am proud of how our guys played tonight. We will take it."
St. Paul made 23 of 38 field goals on the night while committing just 11 turnovers. Calvert tallied 12 turnovers.
In the junior varsity game, the Flyers fell by a 45-26 score. Grant Houck (9) and Jordan Shepherd (8) combined for 17 of the team’s 26 points.
ST. PAUL (7-4)
Treg Smith 1-0—2, Jake Griffin 2-0—4, Nick Winslow 6-5—19, Nate Winslow 5-2—12, Justin Hammersmith 1-0—2, Alex Kashian 6-4—16, Brandon Furlong 2-0—6. TOTALS 23-11—61.
TIFFIN CALVERT (7-5)
Hunter Hendrix 5-0—13, Nick Seifert 2-0—4, Josh Recker 3-2—8, Nic Somodi 8-1—18, Garrett Spaun 4-1—10. TOTALS 22-4—53.
St. Paul 15 12 13 21 — 61
Calvert 14 13 9 17 — 53
3-point FGs: (STP) Furlong 2, Ni. Winslow 2; (TC) Hendrix 3, Somodi, Spaun