BOWLING GREEN — Delphos St. John’s coach Aaron Elwer had a feeling Cardinal Stritch might try to slow it down in a big way.
The Cardinals did, and it sort of, kind of worked … for a few early minutes.
After that, Delphos St. John’s got moving while Cardinal Stritch stayed stuck in first gear as the Blue Jays claimed a 45-32 win in a Division IV regional semifinal game at BGSU’s Stroh Center on Tuesday.
The Blue Jays (20-6) will play Wayne Trace (24-1) at 7 p.m. Friday for the regional championship at the BGSU Stroh Center. Wayne Trace beat Plymouth 76-68 in double overtime to start the evening.
The second game began in stark contrast as Cardinal Stritch used a few long possessions to kill the clock and try to get the game bogged down.
“I thought there was the possibility of them doing that,” Elwer said. “It was a difficult and different approach to the game and it’s really tough. They obviously wanted to limit possessions and put us on our heels, but we held our ground and when they did attack we were able to get stops.”
That approach netted Cardinal Stritch a 2-0 lead midway through the first quarter. After that initial score, however, the Blue Jays immediately turned the tide by scoring the next 13 points as part of a 16-2 run in which Odenweller scored 10 points.
St. John’s didn’t let up the rest of the half and led 21-8 after making 7-of-12 from the floor (58.3 percent) to the Cardinals’ 2-of-12 (16.7 percent).
Alex Odenweller led St. John’s with 17 points while Andy Grothouse scored 15 points.
For the game, St. John’s did just about everything efficiently, making 16-of-30 from the field (53.3 percent) and 11-of-15 from the line (73.3 percent). Meanwhile, the Blue Jays held Cardinal Stritch to an ice cold 11-of-38 (28.9 percent) from the field.
“Coach had a great game plan for us,” DSJ point guard Evan Hays said. “He put us in the best possibility to win and we did a great job playing team defense.”
Cardinal Stritch made it interesting in the third by scoring on six straight possessions for a 12-4 run that cut the St. John’s lead to 25-20 with 2:11 remaining in the quarter.
“We made them nervous,” Cardinal Stritch coach Troy Keene said. “We just ran out of gas.”
Following that burst, Grothouse helped the Blue Jays answer with seven straight points to put his team back up 30-20 before Odenweller scored an old-fashioned 3-point play for a 33-20 lead after three quarters.
The Blue Jays then spent the fourth quarter either extending their lead or unloading the bench.
Austin Adams scored 18 points as Cardinal Stritch’s lone double-digit scorer. Cardinal Stritch finished its season 19-7.