|St. John’s hold off Hartley in shootout|
|Sunday, December 29, 2013 9:02 PM|
NEW PHILADELPHIA — Gas stations around town this weekend were crowded with fans of Delphos sports filling up for road trips to watch their teams. Both the Jefferson boys and girls basketball teams participated in the Parkway holiday tournament, its wrestlers went to LCC for their holiday tournament while St. John’s wrestlers traveled to Marion. The only game in town was the Lady Jays at home against Spencerville.
Meanwhile, across the state of Ohio, the St. John’s boys basketball team played their second game in as many days at the Dover-Phila Holiday Shootout. The trip to Ohio’s Amish country was a successful one as the Jays came home with two wins at the shootout after defeating Columbus Bishop Hartley 52-46 Saturday.
Once again, Jays’ head man Aaron Elwer had to square off against a coach with local ties. Friday, the Jays defeated Fremont St. Joseph and St. John’s alum Jonathan Will.
Saturday’s opponent was Columbus Bishop Hartley coached by Randy Kortokrax, son of Kalida coach Dick Kortokrax. Randy has been at the helm at Bishop Hartley for 15 years.
Bishop Hartley, like St. John’s, had a late start to the basketball season after the football team made it all the way to the championship game, finishing runner-up to Coldwater.
“We lost three of our big players to severe football injuries,” he said. “We have no experienced big guy inside.”
Hartley 6-3 junior J’air Wheelright made the first two points of the game at the foul line after being fouled following the opening tip. Andy Grothouse scored his first two of a game-high 15 to even the score. The weather outside the gym was unseasonable with 50-degree temperature and sunny skies. Inside the Tuscarawas Central Catholic High School, the rainbows began to appear in the form of 3-point shots. Both teams had a total of 15 treys for the contest and it started with Hartley’s Drew Onega draining a triple from the corner. Grothouse answered with a triple from the top of the key. It was back and forth the rest of the quarter, ending with St. John’s Ryan Koester and Jalen Austin of Hartley trading rainbows to knot the game at 13.
St. John’s then scored 10 unanswered points continuing into the second quarter, starting with a pull-up jumper from Grothouse and ending when Clark Eric found Grothouse inside for the easy basket and a 10-point lead, 23-13. Onega’s driving layup and Austin’s three the Blue Jay lead to five. Later on, on a fake and duck-under, Blue Jay junior Evan Hays banked one in in the paint to make the score 29-23 at the half, Blue Jays.
Grothouse led the first half scoring with nine.
As been the case for the Jays in their last three games, they came out with intense defensive pressure after coach Elwer’s halftime talk but Hartley also had the same idea. A Moxley putback-and-1 got them within 31-28, forcing Elwer to call timeout with 3:21 left in the third. Koester drilled a 3-pointer and Grothouse a free throw but a bucket by Wheelwright and a 3 by Adam Rose made it a 2-point St. John’s cushion — 35-33 — to end the third quarter.
Koester opened the final stanza with a big 3-point shot. After Hartley made two free throws, Grothouse scored back-to-back buckets on pull-up jumpers and Conley got a run-out for a 44-35 lead. Onega connected for three and coach Kortokrax called timeout with 3:40 left. After a Wheelwright layin, Grothouseand Moxley traded singles for a 45-41 score with 50 ticks left. Hays calmly sank two free throws and Clark put the game away by converting both ends of the 1-and-1 for a 6-point lead with 24 seconds left. On Moxley’s fifth foul, Conley was 1-of-2 on his first free throws of the season, followed by two more freebies by Hays. Onega made the final trey at the buzzer.
Grothouse lead the Jays with 15 points and Ryan Koester was also in double digits at 11. Columbus Bishop Hartley suffered its first loss of the season and were lead by Moxley’s 11.
St. John’s will take a record of 4-1 to begin league play at home against Coldwater on Friday.
Columbus Bishop Hartley (46)
Jacob Mercier 1-0-3, Evan Feeney 2-0-4, Cameron Ball 1-0-3, J’air Wheelwright 3-2-8, Drew Onega 3-0-8, Chris Moxley 2-6-11, Adam Rose 1-0-3, Jalen Austin 2-0-6. Totals 15-8/11-46.
Andy Grothouse 6-2-15, Evan Hays 1-4-6, Eric Clark 2-2-7, Aaron Hellman 1-0-3, Austin Heiing 0-0-0, Ryan Koester 4-1-11, Alex Odenweller 1-0-3, Jake Csukker 0-0-0, Tyler Conley 2-3-7. Totals 17-11/15-52.
Score by Quarters:
Hartley 13-10-10-13 — 46
St. John’s 18-11-6-17 — 52
Three-point goals: Bishop Hartley, Onega 2, Austin 2, Mercier, Ball, Moxley, Rose; St. John’s, Koester 3, Grothouse, Clark, Hellman, Odenweller.
Rebounds: Bishop Hartley 21, St. John’s 19.