For three quarters Friday evening, the Austintown Fitch Falcons looked like anything but a winless unit.
In the fourth period, the Boardman Spartans finally looked like a team on the verge of their third consecutive victory.
Derrick Anderson scored a game-high 17 points, Che Trevena added 14 and Cam Kreps had 10 to lead the Spartans (7-3, 1-0) to a 70-53 win over the Falcons (0-8, 0-1) in the All-American Conference Red Tier opener for both teams at the Spartans Gymnasium.
Leading 33-29 at the half, Anderson said Spartans head coach Pat Birch told them to just be patient and stick to the game plan.
Four points by Lorenzo Russo and a triple by Kris Brown staked the Falcons to the early 7-1 advantage just 2:59 into the game.
Five points by Kreps, including his lone three-pointer of the game, keyed an 11-0 Spartans run for a 12-7 margin before Boardman settled for a 15-14 lead heading to the second frame.
Six points by Trevena gave Boardman a 26-20 lead at 3:11 of the second period, but a triple by Todd Simons and conventional three-point play by Reuben Talley helped the Falcons pull to within 33-29 at the intermission.
The All-American Conference is an OHSAA-sanctioned league, created in 2008 as the result of the merger between the Trumbull Athletic Conference and the Metro Athletic Conference in Ohio. The league has 21 different member schools, with 17 sports offered throughout fall, winter and spring sports seasons.