Girls Basketball: Leipsic slips past St. John’s in a thriller

LEIPSIC – When Leipsic senior Ava Henry got ahold of the basketball in the final seconds of Wednesday’s Division IV sectional semifinal game against visiting Delphos St. John’s, there was no doubt in her mind what she was going to do.

After a rebound off a missed Delphos St. John’s free-throw, Henry received a pass and went nearly the full length of the court and made a layup as time was running down to give Leipsic a thrilling 31-30 victory over St. John’s.

Henry led Leipsic (11-12) and all scorers with 19 points, including one 3-pointer. Henry also came away with six rebounds and four steals for the Vikings.

With the win, No. 6 seed Leipsic will advance to a sectional final on Saturday against No. 4 seed Miller City. That sectional final will be played at Miller City with tip-off set for 7 p.m.

St. John’s ended its season with a record of 5-18.

When Leipsic took the lead in the final seconds of the contest, that was the first lead for the Vikings since early in the first quarter.

With his team being down 30-29 in the waning moments of the contest, longtime Leipsic coach Gary Kreinbrink was confident that his team would make the right decisions down the stretch.

“I knew if we were down one or two points that we weren’t going to call a timeout. … We were just going to go,” Kreinbrink said. “If we were down three (points), I might have called a timeout and tried to set something up to get a 3-point shot off. Ava (Henry) won a game like that earlier this year. … We had a game-winner, going full-court against Arlington. She (Henry) is a senior. She had her mind made up. Somehow, she was going to have the ball in her hands at the end.”

Added St. John’s first-year coach Ian Finn, “It was tough. Even at the end of the game (before Henry’s basket), we had an opportunity. We work on it all the time. We had a little bit of a stall-ball look (in its final possession). With film, we kind of knew if we got in that situation (lead toward the end), we wanted to try to get something easy at the rim. Give credit to Henry. She is an incredible player. She went coast-to-coast there at the end and hit a clutch shot.”

Along with Henry’s game-high 19 points on Wednesday, teammate Leah Kirkendall had 10 points and seven boards.

Abby Kerner led St. John’s with 10 points, including three 3-pointers. Kerner also came away with five rebounds. Ava Hershey had eight points, including two 3-pointers. Hershey also had six boards, two steals, and one block. Emma Will had six points, three boards, and two assists for the Blue Jays.

After two lead changes in the opening quarter, St. John’s came away with a 13-8 lead by the first stop.

Both teams struggled at the offensive end in the second quarter as the Blue Jays managed to come away with a 16-13 advantage by halftime.

St. John’s led 27-25 at the third stop.

St. John’s connected on 30 percent of its field-goal attempts, while Leipsic shot 28 percent from the floor on the night.

Leipsic committed 14 turnovers. St. John’s turned it over 19 times, including 12 in the second half.

Leipsic held a slight 28-27 edge on the boards.

Leipsic was without the services of junior post-player Jazelle Perez, who was sitting out for disciplinary reasons.

Kreinbrink emphasized to his players about locating St. John’s scorers.

“In the first half, we were really trying to get the ball out of Emma Will’s hands,” Kreinbrink said. “We really wanted to know where Abby Kerner was because she’s a knock-down 3-point shooter. So, those were our two main goals. However, some of their role players started to hit some threes. It’s a win. Now, every game is a one-game season. So, we’re just trying to figure out a way to stay in the game and win at the end.”

Leipsic 31, Delphos St. John’s 30

St. John’s 13 3 11 3 – 30

Leipsic 8 5 12 6 – 31


Evie Vonderwell 2, Aubrey Fairchild 4, Ava Hershey 8, Emma Will 6, Abby Kerner 10. Totals: 11-2-30.


Leah Kirkendall 10, Ava Henry 19, Peyton Schroeder 2. 11-8-31.

3-pointers made: St. John’s – Aubrey Fairchild 1, Ava Hershey 2, Abby Kerner 3; Leipsic – Ava Henry 3

Records: St. John’s 5-18; Leipsic 11-12