DELPHOS — Delphos St. John’s did not get its first lead of the game until the first possession of the second half. Once the Blue Jays got that lead, they did nothing but expand it until the final buzzer.
The Blue Jays capitalized on a very strong defensive second half to defeat Spencerville 54-35. Ryan Buescher had a double-double for St. John’s, finishing with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
“Ryan has that opportunity every night,” St. John’s coach Aaron Elwer said. “He has good offensive skill. He’s long and athletic and he’s worked at his game. When he’s going like that and being aggressive, it gives our offense a whole new dimension. And when our offense works like it did tonight, we can be a very tough group to handle.”
Spencerville was carried to a hot start by Ben Bowers, as the point guard nailed three 3-pointers in the first quarter to help the Bearcats jump out to a 18-11 lead. After leading 25-18, they then allowed a small 6-0 run by St. John’s entering halftime.
That small run quickly morphed into a huge problem for Spencerville. The Blue Jays’ Ryan Koester drained a 3-pointer on their first possession to give St. John’s its first lead of the contest.
It was the first of a total of five 3’s that the Blue Jays hit in the third quarter. Two more by Koester, as well as a pair by Eric Clark helped St. John’s open up a monster 18-2 run in bookending minutes before and after halftime.
St. Johns’ defense closed out the game by allowing zero points from Spencerville in the fourth quarter.
“We didn’t get off to the best start in the first quarter,” Elwer said. “But after that we were what we envisioned on the defensive end. We’ve gotta trust the system and trust each other, and if we defend like that and rebound like that the offense takes care of itself. Our guys accomplished that tonight.”
Spencerville’s struggles stemmed from a loss of its big men to injury. Dominick Corso was out of the starting lineup after an injury suffered in Friday night’s contest against St. Henry, and remained on the bench throughout the game. Then, in the first quarter last night, Greg Miller went to the locker room favoring his right leg, and didn’t return until the fourth quarter. They also lost Derek Goecke (seven points, four rebounds) for the rest of the game in the third quarter to another leg injury.
“We’re struggling with injuries,” Spencerville coach Kevin Sensabaugh said. “But everyone goes through that. It sure isn’t easy, but we’ve just got to get better. When guys get hurt, other guys have to step up and make plays and not many guys did that for us tonight.”