ONTARIO -- When Mansfield Christian gets the first quarter figured out, the young Flames may be hard to beat.
But a sluggish first quarter was again a show-stopper for Mansfield Christian during a 45-28 loss at Ontario in a non-league boys basketball game Saturday night.
The lack of a green flag start has been a problem most of this season for MCS, which has no seniors and five freshmen on its varsity roster.
Recently, the Flames trailed Lucas 11-2 after the first period and lost just 49-41. On Friday night at state-ranked Mansfield St. Peter's, MCS trailed 14-4 after the first period before playing the Spartans even in the second half, 34-34.
"I put on the board before the game, 'Let's score 10 points in the first quarter,'" MCS veteran coach John Kurtz said with a wry smile. "Part of it is the kids adjusting to the level and the speed of the game.
"The older kids do it and the younger kids are still figuring it out."
The loss dropped Mansfield Christian's record to 6-14, while still 2-8 in the Mid-Buckeye Conference. Ontario is 14-5 and remains 7-3 in the Northern Ohio League.
MISSING STARTER: Ontario was again without senior point guard Trey Jordan, one of the top playmakers in the area with 6.2 assists per game.
Resting an injured knee, Jordan's absence may have contributed to Ontario shooting just 35 percent from the field, including just six of 22 in the second half. The Warriors managed just seven assists as a team.
"As a coach, you sometimes forget what a player like Trey can bring to your team," Ontario coach Joe Balogh said. "Offensively, we just were not good in the second half. Some of that is on us and some of it was on the pace of the game.
"Mansfield Christian was taking 20 to 30 seconds per possession and when we hurried down and a missed a shot, we were right back on defense for another 20 or 30 seconds."
Ontario senior Quan Jackson, one of the area's leading 3-point shooters, missed 10 of his 14 shots and was just one for six behind the arc.
"We wanted to make sure we didn't give (Jackson) any easy ones," Kurtz said. "He is a very good and a very strong player."
STRONG FRESHMAN: MCS has relied on junior guards Jared McPeek and Kyle Kurtz much of the season. Freshman forward Shaquan Coburn announced his presence with authority on Saturday night.
The 6-foot-1 leaper scored 10 points and led the Flames with seven rebounds in 27 minutes of playing time.
"Coburn didn't play well (Friday night) and he knew it," Kurtz said. "He is a very smart kid and was ready to go tonight. He went right at their bigs and probably played his best game of the year."
Balogh said Coburn's success was a surprise.
"We knew the key to their success had been their guards. We wanted to keep McPeek out of the lane and we didn't want to let Kurtz get loose on threes. I was not disappointed in our defensive effort, holding them to 28 points."
McPeek, who had 28 against St. Peter's on Friday night, had just 10 against Ontario. Kurtz finished with six, all in the first half.
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: Jackson led Ontario with 12 points. Freshman Chance Mott scored 11 off the bench. The Warriors were nine of 14 at the foul line and had a big 35-21 rebounding edge. Logan Jones, Jackson and Mott all had six boards for Ontario, which committed 11 turnovers.
MCS shot 36 percent (12 of 36) from the field and were one of three at the line. The Flames turned the ball over 13 times.
The taller Warriors had a 24-14 edge in points from the paint and their reserves outscored the MCS bench, 16-2.
TOURNAMENT DRAWS: Coaching staffs from both schools will attend sectional/district tournament draws Sunday afternoon. Ontario will be at the Division II draw at Mansfield Senior High School while MCS will be at the Division IV draw at Willard High School.
Both teams have two regular season games next weekend. Mansfield Christian hosts Lucas on Friday night and then plays at Crestline on Saturday, both MBC games. Ontario hosts Norwalk on Friday in an NOL game and then plays at Colonel Crawford on Saturday.