|Jays sneak out with MAC win|
|Friday, January 10, 2014 9:24 PM|
By LARRY HEIING
MINSTER — The St. John’s boys basketball team kicked off of busy stretch of games with a hard-fought 45-42 victory at Minster in Midwest Athletic Conference action.
With weather canceling games and the usual late start with the football playoffs, the Blue Jays have only played six games coming into Friday’s contest with a 5-1 record.
Sunday’s heavy snowfall and sub-zero temperatures even canceled basketball practice until Wednesday. Although Coach Aaron Elwer couldn’t get his team on the court, the rest may be welcomed with an upcoming schedule five games in the next eight days for the Blue Jays.
Minster’s gym was dark during the introduction of Wildcat players before the game. The lights seemed to stay out for the Blue Jay offense in the first quarter, with St. John’s only scoring four points. The Blue Jays missed their first six shots before Eric Clark blocked a Minster shot and laid it in at the the other end to break the ice at the 4-minute mark. St. John’s only other points in the opening stanza came on an assist by Clark to junior Tyler Conley under the bucket and the Jays trailed 9-4 at the end of the quarter.
The lights finally came on for the Jays: a bucket by Andy Grothouse and his resulting free throw after being fouled on the play brought the locals within two. Ryan Koester stole a Minster inbounds pass under the St. John’s bucket and laid it in to tie the score at nine with only 20 seconds off the clock. The lead went back and forth for the rest of the second and Clark hit a shot at the buzzer to cut into the Minster lead 19-17 at halftime.
For the first half, St. John’s only hit on 7-of-23 shots for a 30.4-percent average, along with 2-of-10 from long range (20%). Luckily, Minster wasn’t much better, shooting 38 percent on 8-o- 21 and 1-of-7 from 3-point range (14%).
The usually timid Conley came alive after the halftime break, scoring on a layup to knot the score at 19. Clark gave the Jays the lead with a pull-up jumper and Grothouse’s spin-move layup extended the lead to four. Conley and Minster’s Eli Wolf were huge influences on the floor during the third at both ends of the court, with Minster taking a 30-27 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
Minster’s lead went to a handful when Jacob Stechschulte finally connected after three offensive rebounds by Minster. St. John’s came right back, scoring the next seven points on a Grothouse triple and two buckets from Conley. After Minster tied the score at 34 on a Wolf turnaround, Koester grabbed an offensive rebound under the Jays’ basket and put it back in midair for a 2-point lead. From there, St. John’s made a perfect six free throws for a 44-42 lead.
Minster had a chance to tie the game with 11 seconds left but Koester grabbed the rebound on the missed shot and was fouled. With St. John’s in the double bonus, he made 1-of-2 from the charity line for a 3-point lead. Minster had one last shot for the tie but one of the smaller players on the court, Clark, came up big with a block of Minster’s Brandon Hoying at the buzzer to seal the victory.
“It’s always good to win on Friday night in the MAC,” Elwer said after the game. “The last four times that we’ve traveled to Minster, it’s turned out to be a defensive struggle. I’d rather learn by winning a close game than suffering a tough loss — and this was a tough win for us.”
St. John’s came into the game allowing only 41.2 points per game, which is tops in the league under the defensive category.
On the offensive side, St. John’s was lead by Grothouse with 17 points, Clark with 11 and Conley with 10 points.
Their second-half shooting percentage improved to 47 percent to give the Jays an average of 38.6 percent for the game. Minster’s shooting percentage also improved to 50 percent in the second half with a game average of 43.9 percent.
The deciding factor in the outcome was foul shots with Minster only shooting 30 percent on 3-of-10. St. John’s, on the other hand, made 8-of-11 (73%).
Delphos also won the battle on the glass, grabbing 24 rebounds to 19 for Minster.
The next action for St. John’s is tonight at Shawnee, with Minster taking on Ft. Loramie.
ST. JOHN’S (45)
Andy Grothouse 5-5-17, Evan Hays 0-2-2, Eric Clark 5-0-11, Ryan Koester 2-1-5, Tyler Conley 5-0-10, Alex Odenweller 0-0-0, Ben Wrasman 0-0-0, Aaron Hellman 0-0-0, Jake Csukker 0-0-0, Austin Heiing 0-0-0. Totals 14-3-8/11-45.
Brandon Hoying 3-1-8, Josh Nixon 2-0-5, Jacob Stechschulte 3-0-6, A.J Huelsman 1-0-3, Eli Wolf 5-0-10, Matthew Trushaw 2-0-4, Prater Otting 1-2-4, Drew Ripploh 1-0-2. Totals 15-3-3/10-42.
Score by Quarters:
St. John’s 4 13 10 18 - 45
Minster 9 10 11 12 - 42
Three-point goals: St. John’s, Grothouse 2, Clark; Minster, Hoying, Nixon, Huelsman.
ST. JOHN’S (27)
Gage Seffernick 2-0-4, Ryan Hellman 1-3-5, Josh Warnecke 1-0-2, Wyatt Nagel 1-0-3, Robby Saine 1-0-2, Tyler Ledyard 1-1-3, Buddy Jackson 1-1-3, Tim Kreeger 1-0-2, Owen Baldauf 1-0-3, Jesse Ditto 0-0-0. Totals 8-2-5-27.
Bryce Schmiesing 2-0-4, Jared Thobe 2-2-6, Brett Hoelscher 1-1-3, Austin Brackman 2-0-6,
Peter Falk 3-0-8, Gabe Goodwin 7-2-18, Evan Huelsman 2-0-4, Conner Tumbusch 1-0-2
Alex Eiting 2-0-4, Isaac Dorsten 2-1-5, J.R Nixon 3-0-6, Totals:27-6-66.
Score by Quarters
St. John’s 10-6-5-6=27
Three-point goals: St. John’s, Nagel, Baldauf; Minster, Brackman 2, Falk 2, Goodwin 2.