ST. MARYS — It is not always how you start, but rather how you finish.
This was the case on Wednesday night on the wrestling mat in St. Marys.
Punxsy was able to rush out to a 24-0 lead behind the heart of its order in the lightweights.
But the tide turned as the heavier wrestlers took their turn for the action. St. Marys scored bonus points in seven straight bouts and won eight straight upperweights in a 43-30 home victory over Punxsy.
"When you wrestle a close match, you can't give up bonus points," noted Chucks head coach Eric Eddy. "It makes all the difference in a tight one."
The bonus points made all the difference. In the Chucks wrestled losses, the Flying Dutch garnered 13 bonus points, the extra points awarded above the regular three points for a win of eight points or less, which was the winning margin.
Punxsy posted its victories in the six lowest weight classes. The Chucks received three pins on the night from Eli Lambiotte (106), Andrew Bullers (113) and Kaleb Young (132). Joel Bowers (120) and Josh Shuckers (138) added decision victories, while Brett Starr (126) was given a forfeit.
"In the first six weight classes, we have things firmly under control right now," said Eddy.
Starting the night at 113, Bullers began the match in royal fashion against St. Marys' Ethan Fox. The junior edged ahead, 6-4, with a reversal and three-point near fall in the first period. Taking the down position to start the second frame, Bullers quickly reversed Fox and pinned the opponent in the opening 36 seconds of the second period.
Bowers earned his 16th win of the season in the next match at 120. The third-year grappler scored two first period takedowns and added a second-period reverse to open a 6-2 lead over the Dutch's Willie McGonnell.
Bowers locked in a three-point near fall in the third for the only scoring of the final period and a 9-2 decision.
Starr ran to the center of the mat for his forfeit in the 126-pound weight class to increase the early Punxsy lead to 15-0.
Young continued the visiting run at 132. The freshman started strong with a 6-1 first period lead versus Kyle Pecht of St. Marys. Young gave up an escape before taking Pecht down and converted it into a pin at 2:24.
Punxsy's big opening success lasted for one more bout, as Shuckers took down St. Marys' Alex Coudriet in the opening period, and the 2-0 score would stand through the end of the second stanza.
Starting down, Shuckers added a one-point escape in the third before taking down the home wrestler three more times for a 9-3 final tally. The Shuckers decision made for a 24-0 Punxsy lead on the scoreboard.
"We bumped everyone up from 126 to 152 to stay in the match," explained Eddy. "Shuckers and Kaleb came through real big for us."
The well of success dried up slowly in the next match before evaporating completely after it.
In the 145-pound class, the Dutch's Tyler Yetzer faced the moved-up Perry Arrington.
With Arrington holding a one-point lead after the first two minutes, Yetzer escaped from the down position before producing a takedown and two back points to go ahead, 6-2.
Arrington reversed from the bottom in the third, and he scored a two-point reverse, but could get no closer to drop the match, 7-4.
"Perry was a little off his game tonight," commented Eddy.
The Dutch made a big dent in the deficit with two consecutive pins in the 152 and 160 bouts for a 24-15 score.
At 170, Travis Perry was able to battle the full six minutes but managed just a single point. Perry fell by major decision, 9-1, to St. Marys' Josh Cameroni.
The home club edged in front, 25-24, after Joe McLaughlin received a forfeit at 182.
St. Marys continued putting up six points at a time through the next three weights recording back-to-back falls at 195 and 210 before they grabbed their second forfeit for a 43-24 score with one match left.
"From 152 through 285, we gave up bonus point in every match, as they had four falls and two forfeits," pointed out the Punxsy coach. "We are giving up way too many bonus points."
The Chucks night did end on a high note, as the lightest weight class finished the evening's bouts.
Lambiotte wasted no time in taking down and posting two near fall points against the Dutch's Ray Dent, before completing the fall in 1:18 for the 43-30 final.
"Our six wrestlers from 106 to 138 wrestled well," said Eddy. "We just have to right the ship and head into next week."
Punxsy will head north again in its next match on Tuesday night for a match at Bradford. The junior high match will begin at 5:30 with the varsity to follow at 7 p.m.