DELPHOS ‚?? Tradition is one of the first things that comes to mind when the subject is Delphos St. John‚??s basketball.
The Blue Jays‚?? boys teams have gone to 11 state tournaments and won three times. Their girls teams have appeared in 10 state tournaments and won five times.
With their trip to the Division IV boys basketball regional in Kettering on Tuesday night, this year‚??s Blue Jays are adding to that tradition. But maybe more accurately, they‚??re making their own tradition.
When St. John‚??s (19-5) plays Jackson Center (22-4) at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, it will be the first time in 11 seasons a St. John‚??s boys basketball team has been in a regional tournament.
So, for most of this year‚??s players, 2002 ‚?? when St. John‚??s last played in a regional and eventually won a state championship ‚?? is a distant memory, if it is a memory at all.
Senior Curtis Geise said, ‚??I remember going down there (to the boys state tournament). The girls won state too, so that was pretty neat.‚?Ě
Another senior, Ryan Buescher, though, said he couldn‚??t remember much about 2002.
‚??I was probably at the games, but I was just a little kid,‚?Ě he said.
Coach Aaron Elwer acknowledged tradition is one of the cards in your hand as a St. John‚??s coach, but not necessarily a card he plays often.
After St. John‚??s 63-46 win over St. Henry in the district championship game on Friday, he said, ‚??I talked about it today at the pep assembly but that is the only time I kind of brought it up. I talked about it a little bit before the game and I‚??ll mention it to them when we get into the locker room, that‚??s for sure.‚?Ě
Jackson Center, a state champion in 1985, has some recent tradition of its own after being Division IV state runner-up last season.
The Tigers were 27-1, with the only loss coming in a one-sided 68-36 state title game against Berlin Hiland.
Jackson Center lost Division IV Player of the Year Andy Hoying from that team, but has three returning starters. Alex Meyer, a 6-foot, 2-inch senior, scored 16.8 points a game and was this season‚??s Shelby County League Player of the Year this season. Point guard Trey Elchert also was first-team All-SCL and averaged 8.0 points and 5.1 assists a game.
‚??We know they‚??re a good team,‚?Ě Geise said. ‚??They made it to the regional so they ought to be pretty good. We‚??re going to prepare well for them and I‚??m sure Coach Elwer will come up with a good game plan for them.‚?Ě
Tri-Village plays Troy Christian in the other Kettering regional semifinal on Tuesday.