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Monday, February 10th, 2014
By Bruce Monnin
St. Marys gets stingy in second half
MINSTER - It was a tale of two halves when the Minster Wildcats hosted the St. Marys Roughriders on Saturday night.
The first half favored the Wildcats, as they took a 10-point lead at one point, but the Roughriders upped the intensity after halftime and held Minster to just 15 second-half points en route to a 48-44 victory.
"We were pathetic the first half. We didn't have any intensity. We were too passive on offense; some shots weren't falling," explained St. Marys coach Dan Hegemier. "I said the only way we were going to win this game is to defend. It's a good hard-fought win. It shows these kids have heart because last night they had to play a very emotional game."
"Unraveled, that's a good word for it. They got after us much harder and we wilted," lamented Minster coach Mike Lee. "They picked it up to a different level of intensity in the second half as opposed to the first, and we didn't handle it very well."
The Wildcats (6-13) scored the first four points of the game and held that same lead at the end of the first quarter at 14-10. The Minster advantage grew throughout the first half, helped by Eli Wolf making five baskets from close range to give the Wildcats a 29-19 lead with three minutes until halftime. Two critical Roughrider buckets by Marquis Wilson and Quinn Zaerr pulled St. Marys (8-10) to within six points, 29-23, at halftime.
Prater Otting's inside shot extended the Wildcats' lead back to eight points to start the third quarter, but St. Marys responded by shutting Minster down for the next six minutes while scoring eight points to tie the game.
The Wildcats appeared to recapture the momentum with two consecutive scores, but the Roughriders seized it back on a Wilson basket with 10 seconds remaining and then capitalized on a Minster turnover when Derek Jay connected from beyond the three-point arc as time expired. The shot gave St. Marys its first lead of the game, which they never relinquished.
Zaerr and Wilson each hit shots to extend the lead to five points early in the final period. Meanwhile, the Roughrider defense completely shut down the Wildcats' inside game, forcing three contested Minster layups to bounce off the rim. With the St. Marys' lead down to three points, Jay hit another big three-pointer to extend the Roughriders' lead to 45-39. The usual last-minute parade to the free-throw line resulted in the final 48-44 score.
The Roughriders had very balanced scoring, with Wilson and Zaerr contributing 10 points apiece while Nathan Wilker and Jay each added nine.
Minster was led by Wolf, who scored all 10 of his points in the first half, while Brandon Hoying added eight and Josh Nixon seven.
The St. Marys coach was happy with both wins on the weekend and added some humor to his postgame interview.
"By the way, if we would have lost this game I would have fired myself," joked Hegemier after his team won on Friday night in his absence.
The Roughriders' next contest is Friday when they host Ottawa-Glandorf. The Wildcats also return to action Friday when they travel to Versailles.
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