By Gary R. Rasberry
SIDNEY -- In a rare varsity doubleheader, the St. Henry boy's and girl's basketball teams split with Lehman on the last game for both schools in 2004.
The Redskins' boys overcame numerous turnovers and held off a fesity group of Cavaliers, 62-48, in the nightcap at Lehman High School. St. Henry remains unbeaten on the season at 4-0 as Lehman drops to 2-5.
Turnovers were also a big part of the first game between the Lady Skins and Cavaliers. Both teams, committed 22 turnovers each, but St. Henry gave up the ball at all the wrong times, falling to the Cavs 64-47 to see its record fall to 3-5. The Cavaliers improve to 9-2 on the season.
St. Henry boys 62, Lehman 48
After taking care of the ball in the first several games of the season, St. Henry had its troubles against a tough Lehman pressure defense. The Redskins turned the ball over 12 times in the first half alone. "Part of it you can contribiute to their half-court defense," said St. Henry mentor Joe Niekamp. "It was pretty aggressive. Part of it was just poor decision making on our part. A couple of times we got the ball in not good spots. Also, we tried to do things that just weren't there."
The only thing keeping the Redskins from trailing in the half was control on the boards and timely shooting. Junior center Kurt Huelsman's first points came on a dunk as the Redskin playmakers tried to get the ball in to the 6-9 center as much as possible. Lehman, whose tallest starter is 6-4, tried hard to front Huelsman in the paint and double-team him, but the center scored 12 points in the first half alone with St. Henry leading 27-16.
Lehman came back to make a game of it in the second half. Sophomore Doug Westerheide hit a three-pointer off the opening tip. Freshman Kyle Corbin, who had eight points at the half, added seven in the third as the Cavaliers stayed in the game, trailing 46-37 at the end of three.
In the fourth quarter, Lehman was able to get as close as six points at the midway point, but Nate Stahl scored five of his 12 points in the final quarter to help St. Henry maintain the lead.
"They had a nice stretch in the second half," said Niekamp of Lehman. "They made some shots. Give them a lot of credit. They played aggressively and didn't back down one bit. That's the type of game that's good for us. We had to play hard and work hard. We got tired down the stretch. that's good for us. We're going to play a lot of games like that."
"I'm really proud how hard our kids played," said Cavalier coach Michael Piatt. "We got down 16 points and battled back. ... When you're down 16, you have to get defensive stops ... We got some stops and some turnovers."
Corbin paced Lehman with 12 points, thanks to 8-of-17 shooting from the floor. Westerheide added 11.
Huelsman finished with his thrid straight double-digit scoring game with 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting. Ross Niekamp posted a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, Andy Puthoff added 11 points.
St. Henry plays a rare Sunday game as the Redskins travel to Delphos to play St. John's in conference action.
Lehman 64, St. Henry girls 47
Ten turnovers in the first quarter did not make for a good start for the Lady Skins as a tough Lehman squad broke away early in the game.
"Unforced errors," said St. Henry coach Charlie Maier. "We've got to take care of the basketball. You want them to be errors of commission, not omission. We've got to do better making those passes. They see it, they throw it and it goes wild."
After traling only by a 14-7 margin after the first quarter, the Redskins ran into trouble as Lehman began to hit better shots. Jessica Slagle and Brittany Brandewie each had five points in the quarter as Lehman jumped out to a 31-18 halftime lead.
The Redskins were able to run the offense more efficiently in the second half. After making 16 turnovers in the first half, St. Henry committed just six in the second. Lehman's miscues began to allow the Redskins to score more in the second half. Brittany Post had five of her seven points in the second half.
If it wasn't turnovers that kept the Redskins from scoring, it was a tough shooting night. St. Henry was 16-for-43 in the game from the field. At the line, the Redskins could only manage 12 makes in 23 attempts.
"We need to make our foul shots," said Maier. "We missed some easy shots. We've been doing that a lot. (Maybe) we've been rushing. We're not taking the time neccessary to knock the shot down."
Brenda Hemmelgarn led St. Henry with 14 points.
Sarah Freytag and Hannah Scherger each had 14 for the Cavaliers.
St. Henry returns to action on Thursday at home with Parkway.