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Friday, March 9th, 2007

St. Henry able to muscle its way to district final

By Ryan Hines

St. Henry's Josh Werling hit a big three-pointer in the second half to give the. . .

ADA - The St. Henry football team won a state championship with a physical style of play.
The Redskins brought that same physicality to the basketball court in their 56-47 win over Ottawa-Glandorf on Thursday night at Ohio Northern University.
"I think that we played well in the first half, but in the second half, they (St. Henry) came out with the mind set that they were going to physically manhandle us every step and they have the type of athletes that can do that to you," said Ottawa-Glandorf head coach Josh Leslie. "They were much more physical in the second half and they came out and decided that they weren't going to shoot a lot of threes and that they were going to take the ball to the basket."
St. Henry (15-8) was down seven points at halftime and then outscored O-G 36-20 in the final two quarters for the district semifinal win. The Redskins will now meet Spencerville, which beat Convoy Crestview 57-52 in double overtime in the nightcap, on Saturday night back at ONU with tip-off slated for 7 p.m.
"Our main focus at halftime was that we knew that we didn't play up to the potential that we have, but with this group of seniors, they recognized that they had to get it done in the second half," said St. Henry head coach Joe Niekamp. "There was a lack of intensity in the first half. These guys really responded."
St. Henry erased the seven-point halftime deficit with a physical defensive stand along with clutch offensive efforts out of Andy Puthoff and Tyler Post.
Puthoff scored 10 of his team-high 16 points in the first half to keep St. Henry in the game before Post found the touch from three-point range in the fourth quarter.
"You knew from the first play of the second half where Puthoff just put his head down and went to the basket on the first play for two that it was going to be a different second half," admitted Leslie. "We thought that we were going to be able to dodge a bullet with Post missing some early, but he hit a couple of back-breaking threes in the fourth quarter for them. The two threes he hit in the fourth quarter were huge."
Both Puthoff and Post talked about their efforts after the game.
"They were playing aggressively on the perimeter and I was lucky enough to knock a couple of shots down early and then took it more to the basket in the second half to try and get the team going," said Puthoff.
"That's what my teammates expect of me," said Post. "They made some nice plays to get the ball to me and then I had the confidence to shoot it."
Down seven points at halftime, St. Henry rallied quickly with a 9-2 run tying the game at 29-29. Zack Thobe led the Redskins' spurt with five points, an assist and two steals.
With two minutes left in the third quarter, St. Henry's Josh Werling gave the Red and White the lead for good with a three-pointer at the 2:46 mark.
Ottawa-Glandorf charged back with a parade to the free-throw line as the Titans hit 7-of-10 from the charity stripe in a three-minute span to claw to within two points at 44-42 with 2:51 left in the contest. Ronnie Maynard led O-G at the charity stripe hitting 11-of-12 in the contest, including 7-of-8 in the fourth quarter.
St. Henry's Brent Prenger hit a pair of free throws and Post converted on a beautiful reverse layup to put the Redskins up 48-42 and the Titans never came closer than four points the rest of the game. Post scored 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter after a 1-of-4 start to the game.
Nathan Posthast paced O-G with 16 points, but 11 of those points came in the first half as the St. Henry defense clamped down on the Titans' lefty in the final two quarters.
"They jumped on every screen and it pushed Nathan out further from the basket to about 21-22 feet away and that's a heckuva long shot for any high school kid to make," said Leslie.
St. Henry's defense was solid for the whole game limiting O-G to just 33 percent field-goal shooting, including just 28 percent in the second half.
"Their plan in the second half was to come out and just physically manhandle us and not let us get any good shots," stated Leslie. "It got to the point where we were going to have to make one-one-one plays and that's not the type of team that we have.
"St. Henry used its strength to push us out further from the basket than we wanted to be and that's a credit to them," added Leslie.
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