Saturday, December 11th, 2010
By Gary R. Rasberry
Redskins make final run in back-and-forth matchup
ST. HENRY - Back-and-forth action, with big runs by both teams, highlighted the Mercer County vs. Auglaize County matchup between St. Marys and St. Henry on Friday night.
The host Redskins took a 21-7 lead in the second quarter thanks to a 13-0 run, only to have the Roughriders score 21 straight points in the third quarter to take a nine-point lead into the final stanza.
St. Henry, though, scored nine straight points to tie the game, and after St. Marys scored its only point of the fourth quarter, the Redskins scored the final four to win a wild 40-37 Grand Lake area battle.
The St. Henry comeback was unorthodox as the Redskins made just one field goal in the second half, but made 12-of-21 from the free-throw line in the final 16 minutes of play.
"I told our guys I couldn't have been more proud of our effort," said St. Henry coach Eric Rosenbeck. "It looked bleak, to say the least. Fortunately, we had guys like Kent Stammen come off the bench and Nate Uhlenhake fighting through an ankle injury. We really put some ball pressure on them and got some stops."
The first St. Henry run expanded on an 8-7 lead midway through the first quarter, making it 21-7 with 5:53 to go in the second quarter. The Redskins' run was paced by Steven Luttmer, who scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half. During the St. Henry spurt, St. Marys either missed a shot or turned it over on eight straight possessions.
After St. Henry's Cory Siefring hit a pair of free throws with 6:58 left in the third quarter to extend the lead to 27-15, the Roughriders turned the tables on the Redskins.
Garet Fledderjohann, who missed his first seven shots of the game, got the Roughriders' tear rolling with a three-pointer. St. Henry turned the ball over or missed shots on eight of the next nine possessions as St. Marys went on its run. Fledderjohann, Dan Bubp, D.J. Manning and Derek Roop all hit shots, with Manning nailing a trey at the 2:54 mark of the third quarter to put St. Marys up 28-27.
Fledderjohann hit back-to-back threes, then was fouled going for another trey, and hit two of the three free throws to give St. Marys a 36-27 lead going into the final eight minutes.
"We went to the zone and the zone helped us out," said St. Marys coach Dan Hegemier.
"That kid is good," said Rosenbeck of Fledderjohann. "For him only being a sophomore. My goodness, there's going to be headaches for the next two years."
But just as things looked good for the Roughriders, fate turned back toward the St. Henry side. Strong pressure defense did not allow the Roughriders any decent looks at the basket in the fourth quarter in going 0-for-6 from the field.
Uhlenhake hit a free throw and Alex Post nailed a trey - the only field goal in the second half for the Red and White - to start the St. Henry rally. Luttmer and Stammen followed with free throws to cut the deficit to 36-34 with 3:38 left in the game.
After a Siefring free throw and another St. Marys miss, Luttmer hit one-of-two free throws with 2:10 left in the game to tie the score.
Roop got loose inside and was promptly fouled with 63 seconds left. After missing the first free throw, Roop nailed the second to give the Roughriders a one-point lead.
St. Henry then worked the ball down to Siefring in the post and Tre Sherman fouled with 34.1 seconds left. Siefring made the first free throw, and after a Roughriders' timeout, he nailed the second to put the Redskins up by one point.
St. Marys got down the court quickly, but was called for an over-and-back by the officials, which gave the ball back to the Redskins. Siefring was fouled and made one-of-two free throws to make it 39-37 in favor of the Redskins.
After a missed Joe Brenneman three-pointer, Siefring went to the free-throw line one last time and made the score 40-37 before Fledderjohann's long three-point attempt hit just to the side of the basket as time expired.
"Cory is too unselfish. He doesn't demand the basketball and he needs to take that role," said Rosenbeck of Siefring. "At the half, he had three shots. As a coaching staff, we were asking ourselves how he had three shots. That's a lot on us to put him in positions to score.
"People make runs (and) we were fortunate to make the last run tonight," continued Rosenbeck. "We have the utmost respect for the St. Marys program. I told the guys the entire week, 'I guarantee that this game is within five points.' I was glad I was right and we won."
"You have to keep scoring and we didn't keep scoring," said Hegemier. "... You just have to fight harder and have to execute. You have to believe in yourselves, your coaches and your teammates. You just have to keep going."
Post finished a perfect 4-for-4 from the field for 10 points while Siefring added nine. Fledderjohann led St. Marys with 11 points while Roop and Manning each had nine.
St. Henry heads to Shelby County tonight to face Fort Loramie in a battle of Redskins while St. Marys opens Western Buckeye League play next Friday at home against Elida.
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