By Gary R. Rasberry
ST. HENRY -- With both teams sporting inexperienced teams this season, St. Henry and St. Marys matched up fairly even in their non-league matchup at McBroom Gymnasium.
The Redskins had scoring spurts in the second and fourth quarters to pull away to get a 57-47 win over the Roughriders to go to 2-0 on the season. St. Marys evens its record at 1-1.
The final margin of victory is a little misleading, as St. Henry scored seven points in the final 45.8 seconds of the game as St. Marys began to take some chances on defense in an attempt to get back into the game. St. Henry only led 34-31 at the end of the third quarter.
"They did a great job with their quickness to spread us out and keeping the tempo the way they wanted," Redskins coach Joe Niekamp said of the St. Marys defense. "St. Marys did a nice job of that. I told the kids (that) we're going to see a lot of that kind of basketball."
"Those last 10 points (in a 23-point fourth quarter) came when we were trying to be aggressive, trap and foul," said St. Marys coach Cort Hamilton. "They made their free throws (14-of-20 in the game, 11-of-14 in the fourth quarter) and didn't allow us to get that final spurt. "I thought holding a team like that in the 50s, our defense did a great job. They bought into our game plan and what we were trying to do."
St. Marys tried to pack it in to keep post men Toby Boeckman and Kurt Huelsman from using their size advantage. The pair had just nine of the 26 half-time points for St. Henry.
With the pair closed off for the most part, the outside game of the Redskins picked up steam. Ryan Ranly scored all seven of his points in the second quarter and Andy Puthoff nailed back-to-back three-pointers midway through the second quarter to push the Redskins' lead from two to eight in just under two minutes of action. Puthoff finished with 10 points.
With the Roughriders having to start respecting the Redskins' perimeter game, that allowed some big mismatches in the paint as the game wore on. Boeckman tore things up in the final quarter, scoring 13 of his game-high 17 points in the period, making three-of-four field goals and hitting all seven of his free-throw attempts in the stanza. Huelsman, who battled foul trouble most of the night, finished with 12 points and shared the team lead with Boeckman with nine rebounds.
"They about had a triangle around him (Huelsman) in their zone," said Niekamp. "We had that spurt in the second quarter where we knocked some shots down. We're going to have those opportunities and we had some guys step up.
"We absolutely have to have that. If we only had that throw inside, people are going to take it away."
St. Marys stayed close as veteran center Adam Johns struggled through a chilly night shooting. The 6-5 junior was just 4-of-16 from the field in the game. A solid 6-of-8 night from the foul line did help Johns reach double figures with 15 points to go with nine rebounds.
Aaron Pfeffenberger hit two threes in the first quarter and added another in the second half to finish with nine. Doug Burke hit two big threes in the fourth quarter to keep the Roughriders within striking distance and finished with eight points while Mark Riesen added seven.
"St. Henry is a tough team," said Hamilton. "They made a couple of makes and we had a couple of plays we could have made that would have put us right there."
St. Henry remains on the road for a third straight game as the Redskins head to Mississinawa Valley tonight. St. Marys hits the road for an Auglaize County showdown with Minster at Wildcat Gymnasium