Boys basketball: Delphos St. John’s defeats Spencerville


By Tom Usher - [email protected]



Spencerville’s Evan Osting, left, tries to get the ball away from Landon Elwer of Delphos St. John’s during Saturday night’s game at Spencerville.

Spencerville’s Evan Osting, left, tries to get the ball away from Landon Elwer of Delphos St. John’s during Saturday night’s game at Spencerville.


Don Speck | The Lima News

Spencerville’s Tyler Koenig puts up a shot against Landon Elwer of Delphos St. John’s during Saturday night’s game at Spencerville.

Spencerville’s Tyler Koenig puts up a shot against Landon Elwer of Delphos St. John’s during Saturday night’s game at Spencerville.


Don Speck | The Lima News

SPENCERVILLE – Delphos St. John’s Landen Grothaus has battled adversity most of the season.

But Saturday, Grothaus was able to block that all out and power the Blue Jays to a road victory.

Grothaus canned six free throws down the stretch to lead St. John’s to a 53-40 victory over Spencerville Saturday at Spencerville.

Grothaus, who has been battling a torn labrum in his right shooting shoulder injury all season, led the way with 14 points.

“We’ve lost a couple of close games and they were right there, but this is a big win,” Grothaus said. “They were 13-1 and breaking their 10-game winning streak is really special. I think it’s going to help us gain confidence moving forward.

“It (the shoulder) has come out a couple times this year. I try not to think about during the game. I’m going to get surgery when the season is over.’’

Nolan Schwinnen had eight points and six rebounds for the Blue Jays. Jack Gerker scored eight.

Landon Elwer had seven points and five rebounds.

Eli Harter led Spencerville with 11 points and seven rebounds. Freshman Blake Sommers scored 11.

Carter Sudhoff had eight rebounds.

Spencerville, which had won 10 in a row, is 13-2.

St. John’s (7-8) was coming off a Friday night victory over New Knoxville. But prior to that game, it had lost four straight by a total of 11 points.

“It’s been a tough season in a lot of ways for us,” St. John’s coach Aaron Elwer said. “We’ve been so close in January to beat some really good teams. I’m so proud we found a way to get over the hump against such a quality opponent.’’

Spencerville played without its top scorer, Josh Henline, who lost his two front teeth diving for a ball in Friday night’s victory over Columbus Grove.

Minus Henline, it came down to a game of who could stay on the floor for the Bearcats, as they had four players foul out. Fouling out for Spencerville were Dylan Smith, Tyler Koenig, Evan Osting and Dylan Cook.

St. John’s had Ethan Druckemiller foul out.

“Foul trouble was the issue,” Spencerville coach Kevin Sensabaugh said. “Playing without Josh was tough because he’s our leading scorer and that’s hard to adjust to because some of the sets we run are for him.

“Playing without him, we knew it was going to be difficult, but I didn’t think it was going to be as wild a game as it was. They shot 37 free throws.’’

When Sensabaugh was reminded he had four guys foul out, he said, “I’ve never, ever seen anything like that before in my 20 years.’’

Elwer agreed with Sensabaugh.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Elwer said. “It was a strange situation, where both teams are really good, defensively. I think we do things very similar and the whistle, they were calling fouls.

“We talked to our guys to having to adjust, in game, and sometimes that’s difficult for high school kids to adjust to the whistle.’’

Both teams came out playing their man defense and forced both offenses to struggle to get in any rhythm.

St. John’s led 7-4 after a sluggish, turnover-prone first quarter, in which both teams combined for 13 turnovers.

The Blue Jays led 20-15 at the half.

St. John’s started the third quarter with 3-pointers by Schwinnen and Grothaus.

That sparked a 9-2 St. John’s run to push the Blue Jays’ lead to 29-17 with 3:54 left in the third quarter.

St. John’s expanded that lead to 33-20 and led 36-27 after three.

But the problem for the Bearcats was they had four players with four fouls late in the third, while St. John’s had two players with four fouls.

With five minutes to play in the game, the Bearcats had three players foul out.

Spencerville got as close as 46-38 with 4:55 to go, but Grothaus hit six straight free-throws to give St. John’s a 53-39 cushion with 1:29 to go.

Gerker also dropped two back-door layups out of the spread offense.

St. John’s won the boards, 25-24. St. John’s had 15 turnovers, while Spencerville had 17.

“Tonight we finally got the reward of defending really well, trusting the game plan and beating a really good team who had won 10 in a row,” Elwer said.

Spencerville’s Evan Osting, left, tries to get the ball away from Landon Elwer of Delphos St. John’s during Saturday night’s game at Spencerville.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2022/01/web1_Spencerville-boys-basketball-vs-Delphos-SJ-DS3-1.jpgSpencerville’s Evan Osting, left, tries to get the ball away from Landon Elwer of Delphos St. John’s during Saturday night’s game at Spencerville. Don Speck | The Lima News
Spencerville’s Tyler Koenig puts up a shot against Landon Elwer of Delphos St. John’s during Saturday night’s game at Spencerville.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2022/01/web1_Spencerville-boys-basketball-vs-Delphos-SJ-DS1-1.jpgSpencerville’s Tyler Koenig puts up a shot against Landon Elwer of Delphos St. John’s during Saturday night’s game at Spencerville. Don Speck | The Lima News

By Tom Usher

[email protected]

Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.

Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.

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