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Blue Jays avenge loss to Redskins in district final PDF Print E-mail
Monday, March 11, 2013 10:34 AM


ELIDA — The last time St. John’s and St. Henry played – back at “The Vatican” on Jan. 25 — St. Henry dominated the paint en route to a 71-57 victory in a MAC boys basketball game.

Kyle Stahl had scored 22 points, Alex Post 16 and Ryan Mikesell 15 in that contest.

This time around, Stahl was held to 13 points and Mikesell 14 by the Jays’ surround-Stahl zone.

The Jays outrebounded the Redskins 30-27 (10-15 offensive) and used stellar shooting from both the field and the line to oust the Redskins 63-46 in a Division IV Elida District final Friday night on the Union Bank Court of the Elida Fieldhouse.


St. John’s seniors Ryan Buescher (24 markers, 11 boards, 4 steals, 3 blocks) and Curtis Geise (23 counters - 11-of-11 from the line - 3 dimes) led the way.


“Our adjustment was simply to defend the paint better. We gave up way too many points in the paint that night,” St. John’s coach Aaron Elwer explained. “We’ve been playing with much more sense of urgency defensively; the kids have bought into the need to play better defense and have executed our game plans extremely well since. We were going to make them beat us over the top and fortunately, they weren’t hitting from outside.”

St. Henry coach Eric Rosenbeck agreed.

“We have talked as a coaching staff all year that if anyone was going to beat us, it was going to be forcing us to shoot over the top and not make shots. That’s what happened tonight; credit St. John’s for making that adjustment,” he continued. “We’ve been shooting the ball from the perimeter well lately, especially Jordan (Bender), but no one was hitting tonight. They did the same thing tonight as they did the first time — surround Kyle — but the shots weren’t falling when he passed out of that.” The Jays (19-5) advance to take on Jackson Center 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Kettering Fairmont Regional. It will be there first such trek since 2002, the year they won state.

“Coach Elwer and the coaching staff made a great adjustment from the first time and we carried it out; all credit goes to them. They killed us in the paint that night but not tonight,” Geise acknowledged. “It’s better to beat them this time because we were fortunate to still get a tie for the MAC championship. Ryan and I have played a lot of ball together but this was definitely one of the best games I’ve seen him play.”

The first period was one of spurts: the Jays got off to a 5-0 start, despite giving up six offensive rebounds early and getting beat 11-6 overall on the boards in the canto. The Redskins (22-4) then seemed to get going behind four from Stahl and Mikesell to take a 10-5 edge on a Mikesell basket at the 3-minute mark. The Jays then retaliated with the last five of the period: a deuce from senior Geise at 2:33 and a duck-under 3-point play with 32 ticks on the board for a 10-all tie.

The second period is when the Jays’ 1-1-3 zone — always trying to put pressure on the ball and dropping four into the paint — began to take control. They forced the Redskins to shoot over the top; with St. Henry finishing 6-of-25 for the half, including missing all 10 3-pointers, was all that the Blue and Gold needed to keep it up. On the other end, Buescher (game-high 24 markers, 11 boards, 4 steals, 3 blocks) began to get more untracked against the St. Henry man defense, scoring six (10 for the half). Junior Ryan Koester’s drive with 3:55 showing gave the Jays the lead for good and when Buescher put back a transition miss with 20 ticks left, the Jays led 23-14.

The Blue Jay defense continued to force the Redskins to shoot over the top in the third and it continued to work wonders, with the Red and White managing only 3-of-13 shooting, despite getting six more offensive rebounds. On the offensive side, the Jays were simply more aggressive, getting to the line six times (making all of them) and getting into the bonus with 8.9 ticks showing in the canto. After leading by as much as 36-16, when Geise hit both ends at that 8.9-tick mark, the Jays’ edge stood at 38-21.

Geise hit an off-balance drive early in the fourth period to account for a 40-21 edge, forcing the Redskins to employ a more aggressive, full-court trapping scheme to try and get back into the contest. That also meant they ended up fouling more to extend the game. Whereas the Redskins more than doubled their 3-period output by netting 25 fourth-quarter markers, the Jays’ superb free-throw shooting in the final 6:53 — hitting 15-of-18 in that span, led by 6-of-6 from sophomore Andy Grothouse (9 points) and 4-of-4 by Geise — allowed for the ’Skins to only get within 57-46 on a 3-ball by Tyler Schwieterman at the 1:53 mark. The Jays ended the contest with a 6-0 spurt to account for the 17-point triumph.

“We have there things we really focus on, especially in the tournament: defense, rebounding and free-throw shooting. Again, the defense is playing at such a high level and we are either staying even or outrebounding bigger foes; that is nothing but attitude and effort,” Elwer added. “No one exemplifies that more than Ryan: he is such a good athlete and he plays with such heart and energy. Free throws, we just put such an emphasis on them in practice and we carry that over into games. We have such confidence coming into a game and go to the line with that same attitude.” St. Henry finished with a 19-of-54 shooting night (35.2%), including 4-of-23 beyond the arc (17.4%); 4-of-8 at the line (50%); and with 11 turnovers and 22 fouls. Stahl led the board effort with 11 and added three assists, as did Post before fouling out. Mikesell added five rebounds.

St. John’s ended up shooting 18-of-36 overall (50%), 5-of-13 behind the arc (38.4%); and added 11 errors and 11 fouls. Junior Eric Clark added three dimes.

ST. HENRY (46)

Kyle Stahl 6-0-1-13, Jordan Bender 1-1-0-5, Tyler Schwieterman 0-2-0-6, Jesse Evers 0-0-2-2, Kent Hemmelgarn 1-0-0-2, Alex Post 2-0-0-4, Mitchel Stammen 0-0-0-0, Caleb Bender 0-0-0-0, Jason Jacobs 0-0-0-0, A.J. Niekamp 0-0-0-0, Ryan Mikesell 5-1-1-14, Justin Ahlers 0-0-0-0. Totals 15-4-4/8-46.

ST. JOHN’S (63)

Andy Grothouse 0-1-6-9, Ryan Buescher 8-2-2-24, Eric Clark 0-0-1-1, Ryan Koester 1-0-2-4, Curtis Geise 3-2-11-23, Cole Fischbach 0-0-0-0, Evan Hays 0-0-0-0, Tyler Conley 0-0-0-0, Seth Bockey 1-0-0-2. Totals 13-5-22/26-63.

Score by Quarters:

St. Henry 10 4 7 25 - 46

St. John’s 10 13 15 25 - 63

Three-point goals: St. Henry, Schwieterman 2, Mikesell, J. Bender; St. John’s, Geise 2, Buescher 2, Grothouse.

Pictured: St. John's Ryan Buescher show great effort as he goes baseline past St. Henry's Kyle Stahl for a bucket in the first quarter Friday night at Elida. He put in a doule-double: a game-high 24 points and 11 boards.


Last Updated on Monday, March 11, 2013 10:55 AM

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