|Bulldog boys avoid upset by Roughriders|
|Friday, February 28, 2014 9:16 PM|
LIMA — The sectional finals is usually where many an upset occurs in high school basketball, usually because the upsetting team has already had the tournament jitters and the upset team hasn’t.
St. Marys Memorial was the team that almost sprung the upset Friday night in the Division II Lima Senior Sectional finals before heavily-favored Elida held on for a 49-43 victory.
Elida will play the winner of Kenton/Tiffin Columbian at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday at Liberty-Benton High School.
“It was definitely different from the first time we played them (an Elida win Jan. 10). They started out in a triangle-and-2 and the guys they left unguarded made some early shots,” Elida assistant coach Matt Smith (head coach Denny Thompson had already left to scout that game) noted. “Tonight, they were much more aggressive in their zone; Marquis Wilson in particular made it hard for us to reverse the ball at the top of the zone. When you look at them on film, especially down the stretch, they were playing as good as any team in the WBL; you definitely don’t want to play them in the tournament. I also felt we stood around a little too much. We sometimes get into a false sense of security that Dakota (Mathias) will do it for us and though he’s done that in the past, you really can’t count on it, especially on floors where you’re not used to playing.”
The Roughriders (11-13) shot very well — 16-of-32, including an even better 6-of-10 beyond the arc, for 50 percent.
“I’m happy with the way my kids played tonight. We really improved a lot over the course of the season and especially toward the end, we were playing our best ball,” Memorial coach Dan Hegemeier said.
The ’Riders also employed an aggressive 2-3 matchup zone that especially knew where Bulldog senior Mathias (14 counters, 9 boards, 4 dimes) was at all times and held the ’Dawgs (20-3) to 17-of-42 shooting (5-of-20 from 3) for 40.5 percent.
Both teams shot well in a slower-tempo first period — Elida 5-of-10 and St. Marys 5-of-8. Mathias got loose for a pair of treys but the Purdue-bound player also didn’t try to force things offensively. On the other end, senior Marquis Wilson (9 points, 9 assists, 4 thefts) set the table for the Roughriders, especially sophomore Nathan Wilker (12 markers) with five in the canto. When Mathias buried the second triple from the right corner at 1:10, the Orange and Black led 12-11.
Memorial freshman Derek Jay swished a bomb from the right corner to open the second period to give the Blue and Yellow its final lead. Mathias tied it shortly after and sophomore Marquevious Wilson (12 markers, 3 steals) took a Mathias lob for a layup at 6:21 to give the Bulldogs the lead for good. The Elida man-to-man defense forced four turnovers in the next five possessions (14 for the game) and they began to build a lead. It reached 23-15 on a straightaway 3-ball by junior Austin Allemeier at 2:54 but the Roughriders had none of it. They scrapped within 26-22 on a trifecta from the left wing by junior Isaac Fitzgerald (8 markers) with 3.1 ticks on the clock.
St. Marys continued to be very aware of Mathias in the third period, holding him scoreless after he netted 10 the first half. Too bad Elida senior Louis Gray (15 counters, 6 caroms) had other ideas. He dropped in nine points — three fielders and 3-of-4 singles — as Elida held its biggest lead of 33-22 on his two tosses at 4:29 — also Fitzgerald’s fourth foul. St. Marys slowly clawed back and stood down 41-34 on an 18-footer from the key by Marquis Wilson with 8.1 ticks on the clock.
Wilker drilled a triple just 17 ticks into the finale to continue that Memorial trend, only to see the Bulldogs push it back to 45-37 on a Mathias basket at 5:45. St. Marys had one last rally, fighting within 45-43 on a fast-break layin by Marquis Wilson at 2:54. However, with a chance to tie or take the lead, they turned it over, adding two more miscues on their next two possessions. Elida finished the contest hitting 4-of-6 singles in the final 46.7 ticks (10-of-16 for the game for 62.5%) to finally subdue their foe.
“Louis showed by example what you can do when you cut and move against a zone in the third period. We talked about that at halftime and he took it to heart,” Smith added. “Perhaps we had some tournament jitters but we’re experienced enough that it shouldn’t be a problem. Still, we had some new guys that hadn’t done this before. We made enough plays at the end, especially getting some key turnovers down the stretch.”
St. Marys Memorial finished 5-of-10 at the line (50%); secured 18 boards (2 offensive) as junior Quinn Zaerr had six; and totaled 14 miscues and 15 fouls.
Elida seized 28 off the glass (11 offensive); and added 10 turnovers and a mere six fouls.
In the nightcap, Bath eliminated Celina 66-51.
ST. MARYS MEMORIAL (43)
Marquis Wilson 4-1-9, Dirk Fenwick 0-0-0, Zach Wilker 0-0-0, Nathan Wilker 4-2-12, Isaac Fitzgerald 3-0-8, Derek Jay 2-0-6, Tyler Sullivan 0-1-1, Quinn Zaerr 3-1-7. Totals 10-6-5-43.
Clark Etzler 0-1-1, Max Stambaugh 1-0-2, Marquevious Wilson 4-3-12, Austin Allemeier 2-0-5, Louis Gray 5-4-15, Dakota Mathias 5-2-14, Chance Weitz 0-0-0. Totals 12-5-10-49.
Score by Quarters:
St. Marys 11 11 12 9 - 43
Elida 12 14 15 8 - 49
Three-point goals: St. Marys Memorial, N. Wilker 2, Fitzgerald 2, Jay 2; Elida, Mathias 2, Marq. Wilson, Allemeier, Gray.