St. John’s senior Ryan Koester muscles up a shot near the basket in this file photo. Koester and the Blue Jays knocked off St. Henry on Friday night. (TB file photo)
ST. HENRY — St. John’s led by a slim 25-24 margin at the end of 16 minutes of their Midwest Athletic Conference boys basketball tussle Friday night with St. Henry at St. Henry Middle School Gym.
They pulled away with a 36-23 second half en route to grabbing a 61-47 victory.
The Blue Jays (8-4, 3-2 MAC) outscored the Redskins 17-10 in the third period.
“The third has been our trouble quarter this year; we have struggled coming out of the locker room. This was the best third period we’ve had all year,” Jays’ coach Aaron Elwer began. “It was good how our kids responded after they had closed within one at halftime.”
Senior Ryan Koester exploded for 24 markers to pace the blue-and-gold. He got backup from juniors Tyler Conley and Alex Odenweller with 10 points each.
“We’re all happy for Ryan. He really put in some extra time shooting and that paid off tonight,” Elwer continued. “When you look at the games we’ve won this year, we’ve had good scoring balance; we haven’t had just one or two guys scoring. It’s been a team effort; that’s what happened tonight.”
Ryan Mikesell led the Redskins (and all scorers) with 27 points, but Tyler Schwieterman was the only other double-digit scorer with 14.
“We played solid defense tonight. We actually won the rebounding battle against a strong team and that is always a goal; that or at least stay even,” Elwer explained. “We did a nice job handling the ball and doing all the things we focus on; that, rebounding, playing good defense and being efficient with the ball. It’s a collective approach.”
In breaking a three-game losing streak last week, the Jays shot a torrid 20-of-34 from the floor (4-of-12 downtown) for 58.8 percent and 17-of-22 free throws (77.3%). They added 24 boards (1 offensive) as Conley had six and Odenweller and senior Eric Clark (4 assists) five each, 10 turnovers and 11 fouls.
“We struggled shooting last week with those three games in five days,” Elwer added. “We got a full week of practice with a lot more reps and it showed tonight. I felt we could be a good-shooting team coming into the season and hopefully this will be a sign of good things to come.”
St. Henry downed 17-of-51 shots (5-of-22 3s) for 33.3 percent and 8-of-9 at the line (88.9%). They grabbed 22 boards (8 offensive) as Mikesell had 15 and amassed 14 errors and 17 fouls.
The Jays visit Spencerville tonight (weather allowing).
ST. JOHN’S (61)
Andy Grothouse 3-0-2-8, Evan Hays 0-0-0-0, Eric Clark 1-1-4-9, Ben Wrasman 0-0-0-0, Ryan Koester 5-2-8-24, Alex Odenweller 3-1-1-10, Tyler Conley 4-0-2-10. Totals 16-4-17/22-61.
ST. HENRY (47)
Ryan Mikesell 6-3-6-27, Tyler Schwieterman 4-2-0-14, Mitchell Stammen 1-0-2-4, Jason Jacobs 1-0-0-2, Caleb Bender 0-0-0-0, Paul Stammen 0-0-0-0, Evan Prenger 0-0-0-0, A.J. Niekmap 0-0-0-0. Totals 12-5-8/9-49.
Score by Quarters:
St. John’s 18 7 17 19 - 61
St. Henry 13 11 10 13 - 47
Three-point goals: St. John’s 4-12 (Koester 2, Odenweller, Clark); St. Henry 5-22 (Mikesell 3, Schwieterman 2).