St. John’s junior Taylor Zuber (14) picks up full-court defense as Shawnee’s Eliyana Floyd prepares to bring the ball up court during girls hardwood action Monday at Arnzen Gymnasium. (DHI Media/Jim Metcalfe)
St. John’s junior Taylor Zuber (14) picks up full-court defense as Shawnee’s Eliyana Floyd prepares to bring the ball up court during girls hardwood action Monday at Arnzen Gymnasium. (DHI Media/Jim Metcalfe)

DELPHOS — Twice, the St. John’s girls basketball team built double-digit leads versus Shawnee Monday night.

Twice, the Lady Indians rallied.

In the end, the Lady Blue Jays came through in the clutch at the foul line to secure a 48-45 dandy at Robert A. Arnzen Gymnasium.

The Jays (4-2) led 32-26 to enter the fourth period and grabbed a 14-point lead twice, the second at 42-28 on a drive by Taylor Zuber (team-high scoring of 15) with over five minutes remaining in the contest. That would also be the Jays’ final made field goal of the night and they went the next 3:10 without a point. On the other end, the Tribe (5-3) stepped up their pressure defense full-court and started to find 6-1 sophomore Trinity Gearing (8 in the period, 12 for the game) and Eliyana Floyd (7). They steadily chipped away at the deficit and got within 44-43 on a Gearing turnaround at 1:56. Freshman Paige Gaynier buried both ends of the bonus at 1:50 for a 3-point Blue Jay edge. Gearing nailed a pair of tosses at 1:34 to again get the Tribe within a point but Gaynier drilled two more singles at :19.4 after Alissa Stahler missed inside for Shawnee, then followed with two more from the line at 2.9 seconds after Samya Wright dropped a floater for the final margin.

“Paige has such a high basketball IQ for a freshman and the maturity to step up and hit those free throws under that kind of pressure. Not just hit them but get to the line,” St. John’s head coach Nate Stant observed. “We did a nice job on Stahler defensively but Gearing was tough to stop inside in the fourth period; she has the one move that we couldn’t deny. We held Shawnee to 45, which gave us a chance to win the game, and withstood their veteran guards and the pressure they put on you. Every time we built a lead, they’d fight back but we took their best shots twice and won.”

Gearing’s foul shot at 7:06 gave Shawnee its first lead in the opening period but the rest of the span was all Blue Jays. Their aggressive defense forced 10 turnovers and helped lead to 6-of-14 shooting from the floor, 5-of-11 downtown. A bomb by Betty Vorst from the right corner at 36 seconds put the Jays up 17-5 before a Stahler single at 9.4 seconds made it 17-6.

Shawnee started to answer in the second stanza by upping its defensive intensity, holding the Jays to 0-of-7 shooting and a mere foul shot by Ellie Csukker at 5:59. As well, they forced six miscues. Slowly but steadily, they pulled closer until they were within 18-16 on a putback by Ijah Austin with :12 on the board.

There was a brief change of the lead in the first minutes of the third canto, with Austin’s inbounds layup at 6:52 giving the Tribe a 19-18 lead, only to see the Jays Hannah Bockey drill a triple at 6:35 to retake the lead. In the process, Csukker picked up her third and fourth fouls — eventually fouling out in the fourth. Stahler’s layin at 6:14 tied it for the last time and a 3-point play the old way by Vorst at 5:50 put the blue-and-gold in front for good. When Zuber hit an off-balance drive a second before the horn, that put the jays in front 32-26 heading into the finale.

“Both teams played extremely hard; it was a great game. Our turnovers early put us behind but we started to handle the ball much better after that,” Shawnee head coach Jeff Heistan said. “We answered them every time but so did they in answering our charges. We had a good play near the end with Alissa to stay within one and she just didn’t finish; it was just one of those games.”

St. John’s — behind the 13 points of Leah Hays and the 11 of Erika Moenter — won the junior varsity contest 51-30.

Mackenzie Peterman countered with 15 for the Tribe.

St. John’s returns to the court Thursday versus Kalida back at Arnzen Gymnasium.

Shawnee is at Lima Central Catholic Saturday.

VARSITY

SHAWNEE (45)

Samya Wright 1-2 0-1 2, Alissa Stahler 5-13 1-2 11, Tessa Jordan 0-1 1-2 1, Kerri Roberson 2-5 0-0 5, Trinity Gearing 4-11 4-6 12, Eliyana Floyd 3-10 2-2 9, Ijah Austin 2-8 1-2 5. Totals 17-50 9-16 45.

ST. JOHN’S (48)

Taylor Zuber 6-11 0-1 15, Hannah Will 1-2 0-0 3, Betty Vorst 5-7 2-2 13, Halle Hays 0-3 1-2 1, Paige Gaynier 0-3 6-7 6, Ellie Csukker 0-4 1-2 1, Abby Bonifas 0-1 0-0 0, Hannah Bockey 3-7 0-0 9. Totals 15-38 10-14 48.

Score by Quarters:

Shawnee 6 10 10 19 - 45

St. John’s 17 1 14 16 - 48

Total Field Goal Percentage: Shawnee 34, St. John’s 39.5. Free Throw Percentage: Shawnee 56.3, St. John’s 71.4. Three-point Field Goals/Percentage: Shawnee 2-7/28.6 (Roberson, Floyd), St. John’s 8-21/38.1 (Zuber 3, Bockey 3, Will, Vorst). Rebounds: Shawnee 37/17 off. (Stahler 9), St. John’s 25/2 offensive (Vorst 6). Assists: Shawnee 8 (Roberson/Austin 3), St. John’s 8 (Gaynier 4). Steals: Shawnee 11 (Wright/Jordan 3), St. John’s 5 (Gaynier 2). Blocks: Shawnee 3 (Gearing 3), St. John’s 1 (Zuber 1). Fouls: Shawnee 17, St. John’s 16. Turnovers: Shawnee 21, St. John’s 22.

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JUNIOR VARSITY

SHAWNEE (30)

Maddison Rumbaugh 0-0-0, Chloe Greer 0-0-0, Emily Skinner 1-0-2, Brianna Snider 1-0-2, Aaliyah Fowler 1-1-3, Madison Peterman 1-3-6, Mackenzie Peterman 6-3-15, Autumn Steele 1-0-2. Totals 10-1-7/9-30.

ST. JOHN’S (51)

Leah Hays 5-0-13, Abby Hensley 1-0-2, Erika Moenter 4-2-11, Abby Buettner 0-3-3, Elly Wrasman 1-2-4, Brianna Altenburger 1-4-6, Faith Ezzelle 0-0-0, Aubrie Friemoth 4-0-8, Abby Bonifas 0-0-0, Riley Pohlman 1-0-3. Totals 12-5-12/25-51.

Score by Quarters:

Shawnee 3 6 9 12 - 30

St. John’s 12 19 6 14 - 51

Three-point goals: Shawnee. Mad. Peterman; St. John’s, Hays 3, Moenter, Pohlman.