By BRUCE MONNIN
MINSTER — It was a fitting ending to an unusual and physical
With Minster leading 47-46 and 17 seconds left in the game,
St. Marys set up for the go-ahead bucket. As Todd Graves brought
the ball into the lane, it was slapped loose by Minster.
By the time all the bodies had finished scrambling for the ball,
the clock had expired and the Wildcats had survived with a 47-46
“We really felt like we just had to get down there and
defend,” stated Minster coach Mike Lee. “And it
wasn’t pretty the last 15 seconds. There were bodies flying
The game started out ugly for the homestanding Wildcats. The
Roughriders press forced three Minster turnovers in the first
two minutes (10 overall in the quarter), and didn’t allow
the first Minster basket until after four minutes of the game
had expired. Scott Vossler scored eight of his game-high 25
points in the first quarter, leading St. Marys to a 12-6 advantage
at the end of the period.
“How do you describe the first two minutes from our end
of the floor?” wondered Lee. “A lot of that’s
attributed to their aggressiveness. Credit goes to their kids.
They’re just so athletic. With their quickness they can
cover up a lot of spots.”
The second quarter wasn’t a lot prettier than the first.
Minster closed the St. Marys’ lead to 21-18 thanks in
part to two three-point baskets by Dane Sommer.
Two statistics best described the first half. Minster committed
16 turnovers compared to only seven by St. Marys, but the Wildcats
countered by dominating the boards, pulling down 20 rebounds
compared to just nine for the Roughriders.
“Usually we rebound better,” explained St. Marys
coach Josh Leslie. “We just weren’t finding a body,
we were just turning and going for it. Minster has some big
kids at the rack.”
Minster seemed to solve the St. Marys pressure in the third
quarter. Alex Stricker contributed four baskets, usually while
driving to the basket after breaking the press. Josh Boeke added
two buckets and Jake Luttmer banked in a three-pointer as the
buzzer sounded, giving the Wildcats a 33-29 lead at the end
of the third quarter.
Minster stretched the lead to 41-33 halfway through the fourth
quarter before the Roughriders launched their desperate comeback.
Nick Yahl twice made baskets to cut the deficit to four points.
Scott Vossler then scored three baskets in the final two minutes
to reduce the Wildcats lead to 47-46. After Minster missed the
front end of a one-and-one, St. Marys had its final opportunity
which ended in the scrum on the floor as time expired.
“We made a couple of mistakes down the stretch and I told
our kids we have to learn from that,” added Lee. “We
missed on a one-and-one with 30 seconds left and that’s
how you allow a good team like St. Marys to get that last opportunity.”
“Our kids could have just given up (when down by eight
points late),” complimented Leslie. “But Nick Yahl
comes in and gives us a nice lift, makes some baskets and gets
after the ball.
“When you play good teams it is going to come down to
one or two possessions,” concluded Leslie.
Minster’s overall record rises to 2-1. The Wildcats return
to action Friday night when they host Coldwater. St. Marys falls
to 2-2 and next plays at Defiance on Friday.