DELPHOS – Elly Wrasman of Delphos St John’s didn’t start the game but the senior helped the Blue Jays finish off Delphos Jefferson in a tight, 53-44 victory over their crosstown rivals Saturday night.
Tied 42-42 with 3:38 left in the game, Wrasman popped a big 3-pointer to spark a 11-0 run down the stretch to help secure the win.
In that big fourth quarter run, the Blue Jays also got a big bucket from freshman Emma Will as well as two huge free throws from Melanie Koenig. Senior standout Paige Gaynier, who finished with a game-high 20 points, also nailed some big shots from the charity stripes.
The Blue Jays needed the bench produce after losing starter Erika Moenter early in the game to an injury. The senior tried to play in the second half but was unable to continue.
“Obviously we took a blow there with Erika going down and our freshman stepped up, Rylee Puhlman, her first varsity game and those girls played defense down the stretch,” Blue Jays head coach Nick Stant said. “What a big three by Elly, For her to put the offseason work in and hit a big shot in the fourth quarter was big and Paige being Paige knocking free throws down.”
Stant added that Koenig had a big night and she is going to have to be scorer for the Blue Jays to take some of the pressure off Gaynier this season.
Koenig added 14 points and Wrasman had seven points but also pulled down six rebounds and had a couple of big assists in a game that saw both teams struggle to score points.
“This is a great test for us and so thankful we are able to be in the gym together and hopefully we wake up tomorrow and every one is healthy,” Stant said.
Down the stretch, Jefferson had four turnovers and their only bucket of the final three and a half minutes came with less than 10 seconds left in the game.
Jefferson head coach Denise Lindeman pointed to her team’s outside defense for the team’s downfall.
“That is all I preach and that is what I told those girls at halftime, outside defense,” Lindeman said. “At the end they got the better half of us.”
Lindeman added that the turnovers over at the end contributed to the loss.
“Unforced turnovers,” Lindeman said. “We just needed to settle down and run the offense but we had those unforced errors.
Jefferson’s Alycia Lindeaman led the Wildcats with 16 points and nine rebounds.
It was Lindeman’s early efforts that saw the Wildcats break out to a 10-4 lead but Jefferson could not sustain that same shooting touch and by the end of the first quarter, the Blue Jays had closed the gap to 14-10.
Both teams’ inconsistent shooting followed them in the second quarter and at halftime the score was knotted at 25-25 and the same held true in the third stanza where both teams battled to a 35-25 tie setting up the pivotal fourth quarter.
Lindeman said this team will learn from this close defeat.
“We never lose because we are going to learn from this and get better tomorrow and that is exactly what I told them Lindeman added. “I thought we ran offense really well at the beginning but the shots didn’t fall and when the shots don’t fall it is hard to keep playing defense and that is the one thing we need to do is keep playing defense.”
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.