SHELBY -- Mansfield Christian ended the regular season playing its best basketball of the season, winning three of its last five games.
That's what made Tuesday's 59-29 defeat in a Division IV boys' sectional basketball tournament game against Sandusky St. Mary hard to take.
Making it even tougher, the Flames (5-18) trailed just 23-20 at halftime against the Panthers (18-5), co-champions of the Sandusky Bay Conference River Division, before being outscored 36-9 in the second half.
"It's like the floor fell out (in the second half)," Mansfield Christian coach Adam Parrott said. "That's the best way our coaches can describe it.
"Everything we did, everything we prepared for, it just didn't happen. Whether they played harder than us, they definitely executed way better than us. We just couldn't get it done tonight," said the veteran coach, in his first year at MCS.
"I hate it for these seniors. I have never had six seniors (on a team) before. Just to see them in so much pain and disappointment, it was hard," Parrott said. "There were times at the end of the season we played well. We just couldn't carry it on today."
TURNOVERS HAUNT: The Flames turned the ball over 19 times in the second half and didn't score in the fourth quarter until just 16 seconds remained.
The many miscues that led to many lay-ups by the Panthers, the district's No. 6 seed who will play for a sectional title at Shelby on Friday at 6:15 p.m. against No. 2-seed South Central (18-4).
"I think a lot of (the turnovers) were (individual players) trying to do too much," Parrott said. "Basically, they were trying to put the team on their backs and do it all themselves.
"With a team like us, you can't do that. We need everyone pulling their own weight. Turnovers have plagued us all year, it just was more evident tonight on the big stage. You just cannot do that," he said.
MCS, who entered the tournament as the lowest seed in the district, will lose seniors Elisha Jessee, JC Mangan, Noah Cyphers, Parker Stigall, Ethan Barry and Jared Mount from a team that won all five of its games after an 0-10 start to the season.
"These seniors have a lot of class and character. They carry themselves well and are great representations of our school. It's going to be a big loss, all of them. They have been a blessing to coach," Parrott said.
St. Mary junior Nate Roesch led all scorers with 22 points. Sophomore Cole Kromer added 13 and junior Myles Bruno added nine.
Cyphers led Mansfield Christian with seven points. Stigall added six while Barry and Mangan each had five.