|Jays use defense, good shooting to dispel unbeaten Indians|
|Monday, December 17, 2012 12:19 PM|
DELPHOS — St. John’s head coach Aaron Elwer knew what his team had to do to deal with unbeaten Fort Recovery and senior star Wade Gelhaus Friday night at Robert A. Arnzen Gymnasium; make things as difficult as possible.
The Blue Jays borrowed the game plan from its game last Saturday with Elida and their explosive scorer, Dakota Mathias, holding him to 26-plus points below his average.
Though Gelhaus, heading to Saginaw Valley State, did score 19 points, he never really took over as the Jays grabbed a 65-51 Midwest Athletic Conference boys clash.
“We had to defend two of the best players in our area the last two games within a week and it was the same scouting report; make them work for everything and give them nothing easy. Once again, we executed that game plan very well against the reigning MAC Player of the Year and another all-leaguer (Elijah Kahlig),” St. John’s coach Aaron Elwer explained. “This was our fourth game in seven days and to have this kind of effort for 32 minutes, I’m so proud of the kids. We aren’t the biggest or deepest team but we give great effort.”
Recovery coach Brian Patch knew exactly what his team was facing.
“I told them that every Friday night will be like this, that there are no cupcakes in our league. If you aren’t willing to bring maximum effort all the time, especially on the road and being here, it’s going to be a long night,” Patch explained. “We had beaten them three straight times because we won the hustle plays: offensive rebounds, diving on the floor, loose balls, those plays. Tonight, they beat us there; I can think of a couple of plays they made when they simply wanted it more. You want to be confident coming in but you can’t assume anything.”
The Jays (3-1, 1-0 MAC) only trailed once in this contest — 2-0 on two tosses by Ben Dilworth at 7:40. Four consecutive baskets: a deuce and triple by senior Curtis Geise (20 markers), a triple by junior Ryan Koester and a basket by senior Seth Bockey (8 markers, 5 caroms); put them in the lead for good. On the other end, Geise and Company — four different players defended the 6-5 Gelhaus throughout the game — were doing their best to keep wraps on the Indians (4-1, 0-1 MAC). The closest the Tribe could get was 14-11 on a 3-ball from the right corner by Kyle Schroer at 1:04. However, Bockey hit a 19-footer from the left side with 17.4 ticks on the board for a 16-11 edge.
The Tribe kept climbing back in during the second period and with Gelhaus delivering four dimes for the game (to go with 9 boards), they were within 21-20 on a triple by Schroer at 5:37. However, despite Geise getting into foul trouble, the Jays kept the lead and rebuilt it to 33-27 on a trifecta from the right wing by junior Eric Clark at the 40-second mark.
St. John’s shot 6-of-8 from the field in the period (22-of-43 for the night, 6-of-13 downtown, for 51.2%).
The third period proved the key for the Blue Jays and the doom of the Tribe: the Jays won the stanza 14-6. They did it by holding the Indians to 2-of-10 shooting (17-of-57 for the contest, 4-of-19 triples, for 29.8%). On the other end, five different players scored at least two points for the Blue and Gold and they lead 47-33 on a jumper from the key by sophomore Evan Hays with 31 ticks remaining.
With the Tribe forced to try and clamp down on the Jays with their extended 2-2-1 trapping pressure in the fourth, it also became a trek to the free-throw line for both units. Out of the Jays’ 18 markers in the period, 12 came from the charity stripe out of 20 tries (15-of-26 for the game for 57.7%), while the Indians scored 10 of their 18 from the line on 12 shots (13-of-17 for the game for 76.5%). The closest the visitors could get was eight points twice late before a late layin by senior Ryan Buescher (14 counters, 12 boards, 5 assists, 4 steals, 2 blocks) sealed the deal.
“We have struggled shooting the ball for our first there games but tonight, we shot it well. We have a number of kids that put in a lot of time there ,” Elwer added. “Curt made his first shot and Ryan (Koester) made a couple early and the confidence just seems to grow. We work a lot of our free throws; that will continue to be a focus, as will the usual things, especially rebounding.”
Fort Recovery ended up with 31 caroms (16 offensive) as Mason Evers added eight; 10 miscues; and 20 fouls. Kahlig tossed in 13 markers and Dilworth five dimes. They visit Waynesfield-Goshen Tuesday.
St. John’s secured 39 off the glass (13 offensive) as 5-9 junior Eric Clark added six; 10 errors; and 19 fouls. They visit Continental Friday.
In junior varsity action, the Tribe’s Darien Sheffer hit a drive with 41 ticks left in overtime to help the visitors to a 46-44 triumph.
Jackson Hobbs led the victors (4-1, 1-0) with 16.
Junior Aaron Hellman was high scorer for the hosts (0-3, 0-1) with 18 (4 bombs) and sophomore Alex Odenweller added 12.