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Ford City's 24 turnovers lead to defeat

| Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010

Ford City just keeps handing its opponents wins.

Adding to a maddening, season-long trend, the Sabers boys basketball team committed 24 turnovers Wednesday night in a 69-49 Section 1-AA loss to visiting Apollo-Ridge.

Ford City (4-7, 2-2) has been averaging more than 20 turnovers per game this season, and lately it's been especially damaging, as the Sabers have lost four straight.

"Turnovers have killed us all year," Sabers coach Jim Callipare said. "We're just shooting ourselves in the foot too much."

With Ford City self destructing, the Vikings (7-3, 3-1) were happy to take advantage of the mistakes — no one more than Vikings senior Mike Poydence.

Poydence was methodical in posting a game-high 27 points and showcased excellent range, as well, draining four 3-pointers.

"When Mike is hot, he's hot. On the other hand, when he's cold, he's cold," Apollo-Ridge coach Matt Gourley said. "But he did a real nice job tonight."

A home date with section leader Freeport awaits the Vikings on Friday, with a win that night vaulting them into a tie for the top spot with the Yellowjackets.

At the same time, Ford City will simply be trying to get back to playing winning basketball Friday against Burrell, which owns a half-game lead over the Sabers in the standings.

Callipare doesn't care who the opponent is. He just wants to get back on the court.

"I always tell the kids we're going to persist until we succeed," he said. "We often use the analogy of chopping wood that the Rutgers football coach (Greg Schiano) uses. You might get a big piece of wood that's tough to split. It may take you 20 whacks to crack that log and that 20th whack may crack it, but it's not just that one whack. It's all that went into it beforehand. That's we handle things."

It certainly took more than one whack for Ford City to get on the scoreboard against the Vikings.

Neither team opened the game shooting well, but the Sabers didn't register a point until sophomore John Shanty connected on a layup with 2:40 left in the first quarter.

That score keyed a 7-3 Ford City run that brought the Sabers to within two points of the Apollo-Ridge lead, 9-7, but that was as close as they would get for the rest of the game.

Dillen Statler paced the Sabers with a 14-point effort, but Gourley was pleased overall with how his players defended Ford City's 6-foot-8 center.

"I wanted to keep the ball out of (Statler's) hands," Gourley said. "Our big kids — Mike Bier, Josh Zelonka and Brad Campbell — did a real nice job for us."

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