|St. John’s zoned out by Rangers|
|Friday, January 17, 2014 9:26 PM|
DELPHOS — The St. John’s basketball team was stuck in limbo Friday night against the New Knoxville Rangers.
Possibly, it was the letdown after suffering a tough road loss against Midwest Athletic Conference foe Fort Recovery Tuesday night or the Blue Jays were caught looking forward to playing the number-one ranked Division IV team in the state (Crestview) on the road Saturday.
New Knoxville, on the other hand, was coming off a 77-65 victory over Wapakoneta Tuesday night while shooting 54 percent from the field with deadly 3-point shooting.
They continued that into Friday night’s game at Robert A. Arnzen Gymnasium in defeating the Blue Jays 56-46 for their second straight loss.
Rangers’ head coach Kort Fledderjohann said “usually we play one half really good and one half really bad.”
Against the Blue Jays, the Rangers didn’t have that problem, playing good in the first half and lights out in the second, shooting 46 percent from the field with seven 3-pointers.
The first quarter started slow for both squads after New Knoxville scored the opening bucket. The Blue Jays finally got on the scoreboard with a 3-pointer at 5:31 from senior Eric Clark. Ryan Lageman put the Rangers back in front with a triple of his own. Senior Ryan Koester scored the next seven points for the Jays, starting with a free throw and scoring on an inbounds play. Then junior Tyler Conley found Koester under the bucket for the assist and a pair of free throws to make it a 10-5 lead.
The Rangers’ Shane Topp hit the second 3-pointer of the opening frame and Clark answered with his second triple. New Knoxville finished out the scoring with an old fashioned 3-point play from Andrew Arnett and a putback at the buzzer by Jalen Fullenkamp to knot the score at 13.
Another Ranger sharp-shooter got in the books when Issac Kuntz drilled a 3-pointer to open the second quarter and the lead went back to the visitors. Junior Andy Grothouse made a nice pass to Conley under the bucket for the easy layin. After a free throw for the Rangers by Fullenkamp, Evan Hays hit a 10-foot pull-up jumper to tie the game at 17.
New Knoxville’s 2-3 zone kept the Blue Jays out of the lane while they still managed to shut down the perimeter shooting outside.
“I thought their zone caught us off-guard a bit tonight,” St. John’s Coach Aaron Elwer said. “They did a good job shutting down the inside as well as stopping our outside shots.”
Clark scored eight points in the first half but the Jays trailed 26-22 at the break.
The Rangers’ offense stuck to its game plan in the second half with good penetration in the paint against the Blue Jay defense and good passing to the outside if no interior shot was available. Much like the Jays’ game at Fort Recovery, the third quarter didn’t go well for the home team as they were outscored 17-10 and fell behind as much as 12 points.
St. John’s battled back in the fourth quarter when Grothouse started to find his range. His second triple of the quarter brought the Jays within five at 45-40 when New Knoxville didn’t score for almost five minutes. The Jays couldn’t take advantage and faltered down the stretch in their 10-point home loss.
Elwer thought a combination of things led to the Jays’ defeat
“New Knoxville played with energy and quickness tonight and beat us to the ball,” he explained. “We talked about not suffering a letdown in practice Wednesday after a loss on the road the night before and we just didn’t come to play tonight.”
The Blue Jays’ scoring was well-balanced with Grothouse’s 12 points and Koester with a dozen as well. Clark was right behind, totaling 11 points.
New Knoxville goes above the .500 mark with a 7-6 record and was led in scoring by Fullenkamp’s 20-point outburst.
St. John’s outrebounded the Rangers 25-21.
The next action for the 7-3 Blue Jays will be against the top-ranked team in the Associated Press poll, the undefeated Crestview Knights, this evening. This will be part of a mega-game with the junior varsity girls playing at 3 p.m., followed by the JV boys at 4:30. Then the varsity girls take the stage about 6 with the boys varsity tip-off at 7:30.
The night’s JV game went to overtime, with the junior Jays playing one of their better games of the year before falling 41-39.
Gage Seffernick led the scoring with a pair of 3-pointer and 12 points.
NEW KNOXVILLE (56)
Andrew Arnett 4-3-12, Issac Kuntz 1-0-3, Ryan Lageman 3-0-9, Shane Topp 3-1-8, Jalen Fullenkamp 6-7-20, Ethan Kuck 1-2-4. Totals 18-13/17-56.
ST. JOHN’S (46)
Andy Grothouse 4-1-12, Evan Hays 1-0-2, Eric Clark 4-0-11, Ryan Koester 4-3-12, Alex Odenweller 2-0-5, Ben Wrasman 0-0-0, Tyler Conley 1-2-4, Jake Csukker 0-0-0. Totals 16-6/9-46.
Score By Quarters:
New Knoxville 13-13-17-13- 56
St. John’s 13-11-10-12 - 46
Three-point goals: New Knoxville, Lageman 3, Arnett, Kuntz, Topp, Fullenkamp; St. John’s, Grothouse 3, Clark 3, Koester, Odenweller.
NEW KNOXVILLE (41)
Logan Leffel 3-0-7, Nick Topp 8-2-19, Zach Neuman 1-2-5, Dylan Gabel 1-1-3, Jace Kuck 1-1-3, Marcus Nitschke 2-0-4. Totals 16-6/10-41.
ST. JOHN’S (39)
Gage Seffernick 4-2-12, Aaron Reindel 3-2-8, Ryan Hellman 0-1-1, Josh Warnecke 1-0-2, Robby Saine 2-0-4, Jaret Jackson 1-2-4, Jesse Ditto 2-1-5, Austin Heiing 1-1-3. Totals 14-9/14-39.
Score by Quarters:
New Knoxville 9-7-11-9 - 41
St. John’s 6-8-6-16 - 39
Three-point goals: New Knoxville, Leffel, Topp, Neuman; St. John’s, Seffernick 2.