BRIMFIELD _ The Crestwood Red Devils took a powerful step in the Portage County League American Division Friday with a commanding 55-41 verdict at Field.
Crestwood rookie coach Josh Jakacki predicted before the start of the season that Red Devil center Nate Calapa could be the best player in the PCL. Not many people in attendance Friday would disagree with Jakacki, who earned his first victory as a varsity coach.
Calapa scored 20 points and pulled down 12 rebounds even though he was forced to sit out much of the third quarter with three personal fouls. With the Devils on top 30-22 at half, the 6-foot-7 junior opened the second half with a 3-pointer, a rebound bucket and a tip in to push the advantage to 37-22 and put away the Falcons.
The supporting staff for Calapa was led by senior floor general Travis Mayle. The 6-0 guard stepped up and scored 18 points.
"I challenged Travis early this week," said Jakacki. "He has to lead this team and we need that kind of play."
Jakacki was also high on Mike Podojil, who came off the bench and only scored two points but really handled Field's pressure.
"I think we have the type of team that every night there will be a different player coming off the bench," said Jakacki. "Tonight it was Mike.
"We really had a great team effort for our first PCL game. It's nice for me to get a win but a lot more important for the team to get this under its belt. Tim Bilsza also played big for us. He scored eight points and also had eight rebounds."
Steve Kuzemchak paced the Falcons (0-3, 0-1 PCL) with nine points, while Ray Barry had eight points and a pair of treys late in the game.
Field held a one-point lead (11-10) after the first quarter but a pair of steals by Mayle led the Devil second-quarter charge to open a 30-22 lead at the half.
The Falcons managed just six points in the third quarter as Crestwood (1-1, 1-0 PCL) climbed to a 44-28 lead. The Devils turned the ball over on the first six possessions of the final quarter and Barry hit a pair of 3-pointers to cut the deficit to 12 points at 46-34.
However, the inside play of Calapa and the free-throw shooting of Mayle sealed the fate of the Falcons in the final three minutes.
Field converted just 3-of-14 free throws on the night.