Boys basketball: Miller City, Delphos St. John’s advance in tourney

VAN WERT — In the regular season, Miller City beat Leipsic by 24 points but in the postseason rematch, the Wildcats needed a balanced offensive attack, strong free throw shooting and a strong second half defensive effort to fend off the Vikings 57-47 in the Division IV sectional semifinal Tuesday.

With the victory, Miller City (14-9) advances to the sectional final against Crestview at 6 p.m. Friday. Leipsic finishes its year with a 7-16 mark.

“We just switched a couple of things on defense but offensively we talked about what we really wanted to go after,” Miller City head coach Ross Kaufman said. “We thought we had a good size mismatch inside and we really wanted to attack that and I thought we did a good job of that but we missed some shots. In the second half i just thought we started to execute a little better.

“Coming out we don’t have a lot of experience and playing in Van Wert where we are not used to playing there was a little bit of jitters from the guy but hopefully going forward they will feel a little more comfortable.playing here and hopefully we get a little more experience.”

Both teams struggled shooting in the first half and it was tied 10-10 after the first eight minutes. In the second quarter, Miller City gave itself some breathing room by reeling off a 9-1 run to establish its biggest lead of the game, 27-18 with 2:39 left in the contest. A quick 4-0 run by Miller City clipped the lead to 27-22 at halftime.

In the second half, the Wildcats maintained its advantage but failed to pull away. While Miller City’s defense was smothering the Vikings, the Wildcat offense could not generate enough points to pull away. Also credit, Vikings’ Ty Lammers, who led his team with 21 points, continually kept his team in the game with big buckets.

“In the middle part of the game we couldn’t make a bucket to save our lives,” Leipsic head coach Devin Mangas said. “We were talking good shots they just weren’t falling. I think we were trying too strong to finish around the win.

“I don’t know what the percentage was but I think it came down to free throw shooting, something like 85 percent as a team. And they made free throws down the stretch and that was the biggest thing in the game. I don’t know how many foul shots we shot.”

Miller City’s Brendan Barlage, who led the team with 17 points, was 11 of 16 from the charity stripe for the game and he grabbed seven rebounds. Ethan Barlage added 11 points and Silas Niese scored six points and he grabbed 11 rebounds.

“We were kind of switching things up with our defense,” Kaufman said. “The biggest part for us was to make sure we got those rebounds. There was a couple of times we got frustrated. We do everything we have to do right and then we don’t get that extra rebound so there are some things we still have to work on.”

However, Lammers’ efforts were not enough as clutch free throw shooting, especially in the fourth quarter, allowed the Wildcats to record the win.

Delphos St. John’s 61,

Lincolnview 39

VAN WERT — Delphos St. John’s broke out to a 21-3 lead over Lincolnview after the first eight minutes and never looked back as the Blue Jays captured a 70-40 win over the Lancers Tuesday

The Blue Jays (16-7) advance to play Pandora-Gilboa at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The Lancers end their year 10-14.

Earlier in the year, the Rockets defeated Delphos, 51-49.

Delphos’ Cameron Elwer and Aaron Moenter each scored 13. For Lincolnview, Austin Bockrath had 11 points.

Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.