|Blue Jays stay atop MAC boys standings|
|Monday, January 21, 2013 11:41 AM|
NEW KNOXVILLE — St. John’s head boys basketball coach Aaron Elwer couldn’t have been much happier about his team’s first-half performance Friday night inside “The Little City” inside Ranger Gymnasium at New Knoxville.
His Blue Jays built a 40-19 lead by halftime en route to a 65-47 Midwest Athletic Conference victory.
The Jays (9-3, 4-0 MAC) kept pace with St. Henry atop the league standings and set up a showdown Friday at home.
“That was one of our better halves of the season; we were doing it on both ends. We focused on the defensive end some this week because I felt we weren’t as good as we needed to be last weekend,” Elwer explained. “We were getting stops and then rebounding the ball and heading the other way. We were getting good inside-out action out of our dribble-drive offense and that’s when we are at our best offensively. We’re getting good shots out of it and knocking them down.”
For New Knoxville coach Kort Fledderjohann, he wasn’t pleased with his team.
“St. John’s came ready to play from the start and we weren’t; they smacked us in the mouth from the get-go. We have to become more physically and mentally ready all the time,” he explained. “We really talked about that at halftime and we were much better but we couldn’t make shots that we needed. That was the difference tonight; they hit their open shots and we failed to do so.” St. John’s used solid shooting all-around: 22-of-42 for the game, including 9-of-18 beyond the arc, for 52.4 percent. Senior Curtis Geise poured in 25 markers and junior Eric Clark struck for 15, all on treys.
When Geise hit a jumper from the left elbow at 7:05, St. John’s had the lead and they never gave it up. Hitting 8-of-12 shots in the period, with Geise knocking down three baskets and senior Ryan Buescher adding five points, they steadily built a lead, forcing Fledderjohann to burn two timeouts in the period to try and stem the tide. Still, when Geise made an off-balance drive with 39 ticks on the clock, the Blue and Gold led 18-7.
The Jays didn’t let up in the second stanza at all, knocking down 7-of-14 shots from the floor, including 4-of-10 downtown. They also added 4-of-4 at the line (12-of-17 for the game for 70.6%). Geise was on fire, clicking for 11 markers in the stanza. His 3-ball from right of the key with 2.1 ticks on the board accounted for a 40-19 halftime score.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to maintain intensity coming out of the locker room with such a big lead. The Jays experienced that first-hand Friday night in the third. They cooled off for 3-of-9 shooting and committed five of their 11 game turnovers (12 for New Knoxville) in the span as the home team made a run: after the Jays went up 42-22 on a Geise (6 points in the period) basket, Knoxville got within 44-29 on a layin by Adam Howe with 2:25 showing. After Buescher hit two singles at 36.4 ticks, a mid-lane jumper by Isaac Kuntz (10 markers) at the 14-second mark got the hosts within 48-33.
If the Rangers had hopes of a miracle comeback in the fourth period, they were quickly dashed by three bombs from Clark in the first two minutes that pushed the Jays to a 57-36 advantage. From then on, both coaches could begin to substitute their deeper reserves and give their starters some early rest as the game wore down.
“We’ve generally been good coming out of halftime and playing with intensity but we kind of struggled tonight,” Elwer added. “We started to get back into the flow later in the period but you strive for four quarters of consistently good basketball. We have more guys getting involved offensively and that’s a good sign.” In closing, St. John’s nabbed 30 boards (9 offensive) as Buescher had seven — to go with his six assists and three steals — and Evan Hays added six; and eight fouls. New Knoxville canned 19-of-44 fielders, including 8-of-19 triples, for 43.2 percent and 1-of-2 singles (50%); secured 17 boards (4 offensive) as Andrew Arnett had four (4 assists); and 14 fouls. Jake Allen dropped in a team-leading 11 points. They visit New Bremen Friday.
In junior varsity action, the Jays improved to 5-7 (2-2 MAC) by hitting a late basket that secured a 37-36 victory.
Alex Odenweller led the victors with 17 and Aaron Hellman added 10.
For the Rangers, Ryan Allen netted 14.
ST. JOHN’S (65)
Andy Grothouse 2-0-5, Ryan Buescher 2-2-7, Eric Clark 5-0-15, Aaron Hellman 0-0-0, Ryan Koester 1-1-3, Curtis Geise 9-6-25, Cole Fischbach 0-0-0, Evan Hays 1-2-4, Tyler Conley 0-0-0, Alex Odenweller 0-0-0, Jake Csukker 0-0-0, Seth Bockey 2-2-6. Totals 13-9-12/17-65.
NEW KNOXVILLE (47)
Andrew Arnett 2-0-4, Isaac Kuntz 4-0-10, Ryan Lageman 3-0-8, Adam Howe 3-0-8, Jake Allen 4-1-11, Shane Topp 1-0-2, Ryan Allen 0-0-0, Ben Kuck 2-0-4, Jalen Fullenkamp 0-0-0, Ethan Kuck 0-0-0, Spencer Wolf 0-0-0. Totals 11-8-1/2-47.
Score by Quarters:
St. John’s 18 22 8 17 - 65
N. Knoxville 7 12 14 14 - 47
Three-point goals: St. John’s, Clark 5, Buescher, Geise, Grothouse, Koester; New Knoxville, Kuntz 2, Lageman 2, Howe 2, J. Allen 2.
ST. JOHN’S (37)
Aaron Hellman 4-0-10, Ryan Hellman 0-0-0, Nick Bockey 0-0-0, Eric Gerberick 0-0-0, Jake Csukker 3-0-6, Austin Heiing 0-2-2, Alex Odenweller 5-7-17, Tyler Conley 0-2-2. Totals 10-2-11/14-37.
NEW KNOXVILLE (36)
Logan Leffel 1-2-4, Shane Topp 0-0-0, Brandon Steinke 0-0-0, Ryan Allen 6-0-14, Zach Neuman 0-0-0, Dylan Gabel 3-0-7, Jalen Fullenkamp 2-2-7, Ethan Kuck 2-0-4. Totals 10-4-4/4-36.
Score by Quarters:
St. John’s 6 14 9 8 - 37
N. Knoxville 9 5 11 11 - 36
Three-point goals: St. John’s, A. Hellman 2; New Knoxville, Allen 2, Gabel, Fullenkamp.