By MARC TOBIAS
VAN WERT — The Western Buckeye League got a little more
confusing Friday night when Van Wert was able to deal St. Marys
its first league loss of the season, 57-41.
Five teams are now within a game of first place in the WBL after
four weeks of league play.
St. Marys’ loss wasn’t devastating, but the Roughriders
now will have little room for error if it wants to stay in title
“Nobody goes through this league undefeated, if you do
it’s a miracle, there’s just too many good teams,”
said St. Marys coach Josh Leslie.
The score of last night’s game wasn’t indicative
of how the majority of the game went.
St. Marys trailed by just two points at 39-37 with under six
minutes to play in the fourth quarter.
A pair of Scott Vossler free throw’s had the ‘Riders
within five at the 4:23 mark, but that’s when the wheels
started to fall off the St. Marys bus.
Van Wert made two free throw’s to go up by seven points,
and then came the back breaking play for St. Marys.
Rian Rainey connected on a transition jump shot to put the Cougars
on top 48-39, but on the same play Wes Clark was whistled for
a foul underneath the basket.
That allowed Clayton Kline to go to the free-throw line to shoot
a bonus one-and-one situation, and when he knocked both down
the ‘Riders trailed by 11.
Van Wert then broke the game wide open by scoring a slew of
fast break points. A Rainey layup to make the score 57-39 capped
an 18-2 Van Wert run with less than 30 seconds to play.
Vossler’s free throws at the 4:23 mark were the last points
St. Marys scored until Nick Pfeffenberger hit a pair of free
throws with 7.1 seconds left in the game.
“It was one of those things were we stopped moving on
offense, we missed rotations on defense and then I thought a
four or six point spurt in this game would win the game, and
it did really,” Leslie said. “A little swing there
in the fourth quarter where we didn’t execute and we gave
up a couple easy baskets. Then you do things you just don’t
normally do and we gave some layups when we tried to pressure.”
St. Marys really struggled shooting the basketball in the second
half as it converted just 25 percent of its shots.
“We would throw the ball and then stand and watch, their
a good defensive team, but if you stand and watch and try to
go one-on-one they just throw help at you and you can’t
get anything,” Leslie said.
Most of that help came from John Moonshower who controlled the
paint most of the night along with some help from Kyle Holliday
and B.J. Knapke.
Moonshower had 13 points five boards and three blocks, but he
contested almost every St. Marys shot in the paint. Meanwhile
Holliday pulled down nine boards to go with 10 points.
“Scott had a lot points, but he could of had a lot more
if we would have moved and cut a lot more off of him and got
our other guys some looks out of our motion,” Leslie said.
Vossler was the lone Roughrider that was able to create his
own shot and he scored 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting. The senior
also hit on 3-of-7 from behind the three-point arc.
The rest of the Roughriders couldn’t get much going, though,
as they combined for 19 points on 7-of-24 from the field.
Van Wert on the other hand shot very well the final 16 minutes,
hitting 64 percent (11-of-17) of its shots.
“I don’t know how many three’s we shot in
the first half, but it wasn’t what we wanted to do,”
said Van Wert coach Dave Froelich. “We started to get
it inside in the second half and it created easier shot opportunities.”
Van Wert was 4-of-16 from three-point land in the first half
and 3-of-7 behind the arc in the second half.
St. Marys now finds itself in a familiar position, as last year
they lost their first league game after starting 3-0. The ‘Riders
finished the league season by going 2-4.
“I told them we can look at this one of two ways, we can
say its one game, get angry and get ready to comeback next week,
or we can feel sorry for ourselves and come out and lay an egg
the rest of the time,” Leslie said. “My bet is that
these guys will get a little heated and want to come back and
fight and they need to do that tomorrow.”
St. Marys will have to get that intensity quickly as hosts Perry
tonight before taking on Jamar Butler and Shawnee next Friday.