|Jays lose 3rd straight game|
|Tuesday, February 11, 2014 9:33 PM|
DELPHOS — It’s been an up and down year for Coach Aaron Elwer and his St. John’s Blue Jay boys basketball team.
The Blue Jays have beaten big-city schools like Columbus Bishop Hartley over the Christmas break and defeated a state-ranked Marion Local at home.
They even gave Midwest Athletic Conference leader Fort Recovery everything they had before losing on a last-second shot on the road.
Last Friday night, the Blue Jays were totally outplayed by Versailles which had lost all seven games without their star player, Kyle Ahrens, falling 40-33.
The Van Wert Cougars came to town Tuesday night with a sub-par record of 8-10 and the home team was hoping to get back on the winning track. Instead, the Cougars came away with a 53-48 victory, giving St. John’s their second 3-game skid of the season.
During the Blue Jays’ skid, the offense has failed to put points on the board to start the game, forcing their defense to dig out of a hole. That’s exactly what happened again
as the Cougars jumped out to a 7-point lead to open the game. St. John’s finally scored when Andy Grothouse grabbed an offensive rebound and his putback put the Jays on the scoreboard. The only other made field goal of the first period was also by Grothouse with a triple; combined with one made free throw each by Evan Hays and Ryan Koester, the Jays trailed 16-7 at the end of one.
Grothouse continued to score from the field for the blue and gold with a bucket to start the second stanza. Van Wert’s Matt Bidlack began to make his presence felt on
the court with a move to the hole over a pair of Blue Jay defenders and was fouled. His pair from the charity line doubled up the Jays 18-9. Grothouse got an assist on a pass underneath to Jake Csukker for the layin but Bidlack grabbed an offensive rebound at the other end and put it back for two. St. John’s starting chipping away at the Cougar lead as Grothouse made two free throws and Hays hit a pull-up 8-footer. Conner Holiday nailed a three for Van Wert to extend its lead back to seven points. Alex Odenweller, returning to the Blue Jay lineup after an injury, hit a triple and Koester made one of his patented reverse layups to bring St. John’s within two. The Blue Jays finally caught the the Cougars at 22 when Koester made a pair of freebies after being fouled in the paint. Van Wert meanwhile was a perfect 9-of-9 in the free-throw department in the first half when Joey Moreland dropped in a pair. The first half ended at the foul line when Eric Clark was fouled with 1.5 seconds remaining and his made pair knotted the score at 24.
Bidlack continued his dominance on the boards to start the second half with an offensive rebound and bucket. St John’s big man Tyler Conley broke a personal scoring dry spell with a layin. Bidlack scored on a 8-footer after a great move to get the open shot and Elijah Wortman hit a 20-footer to give the Cougars a 4-point lead. Koester drove the length of the court and another reverse layup brought his team within two but that’s as close as St. John’s would get for the rest of the game; Van Wert outscored the Blue Jays 11-4 to end the third.
St. John’s wasn’t about to go away without a fight as Conley scored four points to pull the Jays within 41-36. In between buckets by Holliday, the Jays continued to score in close range as Koester and Conley made short baskets. Clark and Conley made two more buckets as the Jays’ defensive pressure held Van Wert in check and the lead was down to three points at 47-44. Holliday stopped the Blue Jay momentum with a 3-pointer with 2:25 left in the game. Coach Elwer called timeout, with the intent of letting the referees know his displeasure with a non-call after Grothouse was leveled before the shot.
“Connor hitting that three in the fourth quarter was huge for us,” said Van Wert head coach Mark Bagley. “The crowd was really getting into the game and St. John’s defense
was feeding off the crowd noise. His shot gave us a 6-point lead and we went onto win the game. Elijah Wortman’s defense also was a big key for us tonight. He gave us lots of energy and our team fed off of that. I have the utmost respect for Coach Elwer and Delphos St. John’s team. We weathered the storm and got a big road win.”
Elwer was unavailable for comment.
The Blue Jays had three players in double figures with Grothouse (13), Koester (11) and Conley (10).
Van Wert was led by Holliday’s game-high 20 points and Bidlack added 15.
The next action for Van Wert is on the road Friday night in W.B.L. action at Wapakoneta and then face Jefferson Saturday at home.
St. John’s hopes to get back on the winning track with a M.A.C. at New Bremen.
In JV action, the Blue Jays stayed within two points of the Cougars through the third quarter before turnovers lead to a 60-40 loss.
The JV team was led by Timothy Kreeger’s 13 points and Jaret Jackson scored nine.
VAN WERT (53)
Michael Smelzer 2-0-6, Kyle Keber 0-1-1, Matt Bidlack 6-2-15, Connor Holliday 6-6-20, Joey Moreland 0-2-2, Drew Myers 1-1-3, Elijah Wortman 3-0-6. Totals 18-12/16-53.
ST. JOHN’S (48)
Andy Grothouse 5-2-13, Evan Hays 1-1-3, Eric Clark 1-2-4, Ryan Koester 4-3-11, Alex Odenweller 1-0-3, Tyler Conley 4-2-10, Jake Csukker 1-2-4. Totals 17-12/17-48.
Score by Quarters:
Van Wert 16-8-17-12 - 53
St. John’s 7-17-8-16 - 48
Three-point goals: Van Wert, Smelser 2, Holliday 2, Bidlack; St. John’s, Grothouse, Odenweller.
VAN WERT (60)
Brant Henry 2-5-9, Colin Smith 4-1-10, Josh Braun 5-2-12, Keagon Hardmon 1-0-2, Ryan McCracken 5-1-12, Gavin Cross 1-1-3, Gavin Gardner 4-2-12. Totals 22-12/17-60.
ST. JOHN’S (40)
Gage Seffernick 1-0-2, Aaron Reindel 2-1-6, Robby Saine 0-2-2, Jaret Jackson 4-1-9, Timothy Kreeger 4-5-13, Austin Heiing 4-0-8. Totals 15-9/14-40.
Score by Quarters:
Van Wert 12 12 14 22 - 60
St. John’s 10 7 13 10 - 40
Three-point goals: Van Wert, Smith, McCracken; St. John’s, Reindel.