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02-02-04: Johns hits winner in varsity debut


DELPHOS — Welcome to the world of varsity basketball, Adam Johns.
The St. Marys freshman was brought up this week from the junior varsity when Wes Clark and Corey Vossler were lost to season-ending injuries.
His debut on Saturday will be one to remember.
Johns hit the winning bucket with 4.5 seconds left in the game to give the Roughriders a 51-49 win on the road at St. John’s at Arnzen Gymnasium.
Johns attempted just two baskets, making both, but the shot off the pass from Tom Burke with time winding down allowed the Roughriders to celebrate after a tough week on and off the court.
“When he shot it, I thought it was long,” said St. Marys coach Josh Leslie. “It’s great for a freshman to step up and hit a shot like that. Great play by Tom as well. He could’ve easily taken a three (Burke was 3-for-8 from the arc on the evening) but he was unselfish, drove and made the pass.”
Johns’ shot was the finale to a fourth-quarter rally. Just as the night before when Shawnee held a double-digit lead in the second half, St. John’s was up big early, leading 34-20 at the half and still holding a 38-30 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The Blue Jays opened the lead up to 45-33 with 6:37 left in the game when St. Marys began to get a rhythm. Todd Graves and Scott Vossler started picking up the scoring and got the score to 47-43 with 3:26 left. Bart Bergfeld scored what was to be the final Blue Jay points with 3:10 left on a jumper to make the score 49-36.
Scott Vossler cruised down the court and hit a three-pointer eight seconds later to get within three at 49-46. St. John’s was unable to score as the Roughriders got the ball back and Scott Vossler was fouled and went to the line with 2:25 left.
Vossler missed the free throw but Kyle Vossler picked up the rebound, his only rebound of the game, and the ‘Riders pulled it out and got the ball to Burke, who hit a trey with 2:14 left to tie the game for the first time since 2-2 in the first quarter.
St. John’s coach Brett Norris called timeout to settle the team down but on the ensuing possession the Blue Jays turned the ball over with 1:50 left.
Rather than score right away, St. Marys slowed the tempo, passing the ball around and calling a timeout with 1:19 left. After the timeout, St. Marys went to work again, trying to get the ball to Scott Vossler.
With the Blue Jays keeping Vossler in check, Burke got the ball and looked for an open look for a three-pointer. With the perimeter defended well by the Blue Jays, Burke drove and delivered a perfect bounce pass to a posted-up Johns. Johns banked the shot in and Norris immediately called timeout with 3.5 seconds left.
“It was originally going to be a cross-screen for Scott (Vossler) in the post. He got that look but they doubled him,” said Leslie about the final play. “The next option was for Tom at the top. He was covered. Tom had a great read, drove and Adam was in the right place.
“This was huge. What could have happened is that we would have been on a streak of losing three out of four. That can have a negative effect on the season. By far this has been the hardest week of the season. This win is a confidence builder for the rest of our season,” added Leslie.
After the timeout, Matt Webb got the inbounds pass for St. John’s and sprinted down the floor and shot from around 25 feet but the ball fell well short and hit the ground as the horn sounded.
“We had some great shots, my goodness,” said Norris. “Right from the start of the second half we had some great shots but went cold. We didn’t deal with our lack of success shooting the ball well. We were kind of tentative. They made big play after big play. We just kind of broke down both offensively and defensively.”
The Blue Jays had the stats to get the win on most occasions. St. John’s outrebounded St. Marys 32-14, including 18-4 in the first half.
Scott Vossler finished with 15 points, Kyle Vossler added nine and Derron Steinke came off the bench for eight points.
Chad Reynolds hit some big shots early for St. John’s but just scored two of his 13 points in the second half. Webb added 12 with Ryan Patton scoring 10.
St. Marys hosts Kenton on Friday while St. John’s travels to Minster.


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