Boys Basketball: Pandora-Gilboa claims district title

ELIDA — Two league championships and now titles at the sectional and district levels.

So many teams have tried to get in Pandora-Gilboa’s way this season, and almost every single time a challenge has been placed in their path, the Rockets have found a way to come out on the winning end.

On Friday night at the Elida Fieldhouse, Pandora-Gilboa met Delphos St. John’s with the district title on the line, and the Rockets used an all-out defensive effort to shut down the Blue Jays and advance to regionals with a 56-43 victory.

Pandora-Gilboa held Delphos St. John’s to 16 of 44 from the floor (36%) and contained Cameron Elwer, the MAC Player of the Year who averages 28 points per game, to 15 points on four three-pointers and three free throws.

“All the credit goes to our kids,” Pandora-Gilboa coach Mike Lee said. “We got after it defensively and we cleaned up the things we didn’t do well against them (St. John’s) a month and a half ago. It wasn’t perfect tonight, but I thought we gave them a lot more trouble on defense than what we did in the regular season.”

Pandora-Gilboa suffered one of its two losses to St. John’s, 57-48, in late January. Cameron Elwer scored 32 points in that win for the Blue Jays, but using a variety of players on defense, the Rockets cut Elwer’s point total in half on Saturday night.

“We tried to rotate in as many players as we could against him,” Lee said. “He’s just an outstanding basketball player. We thought keeping as many guys fresh against him as we possibly could would give us the best chance to slow him down.”

Elwer entered the night hampered by a soft tissue injury in his hip that he reaggravated on Tuesday night against Miller City. He took all nine of his field goal attempts from beyond the arc and drew a pair of trips to the line.

Delphos St. John’s coach Aaron Elwer said after the game that they weren’t sure if his son would be able to give it a go tonight until just hours before the tip.

“It’s been a whirlwind the past few days to try and give him an opportunity to compete tonight,” Elwer said of Cameron Elwer. “He got the go-ahead from the doctor and he wanted to give it a shot knowing that he couldn’t do any more damage than what had already been done. He is who he is. He’s a great player who loves to compete and he gave everything he had.”

Pandora-Gilboa held a 20-17 lead at the break.

Aaron Moenter scored to open the third quarter, making it a one-point game, but the Rockets ripped off 12 straight points to pull away. Colin Harris and Zach Neuenschwander had five each on the run. The lead only dipped as low as eight for the rest of the night.

Aiden Harris paced Pandora-Gilboa with 14 points, followed by Colin Harris with 11. Four other Rockets scored at least six points in the game.

“We got some quality minutes from a lot of different individuals and that’s what you need because that’s what makes a quality basketball team,” Lee said. “Teams are going to take things away from you this time of year and make life much more difficult on you, but when you have other kids step up like we did tonight, that’s why we’re moving on.”

Aiden Harris said,” We have shooters all around and that’s a great thing to have. We pass the ball very well and we find guys that are hitting and we get the job done.”

Pandora-Gilboa shot 18 of 45 from the floor for 40 percent and grabbed 33 rebounds compared to 21 from the Blue Jays. St. John’s also lost the turnover battle 9-7.

Next week The Rockets head to Bowling Green to take on Toledo Christian in the regional semifinals. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday night.

Pandora-Gilboa 56, Delphos St. John’s 43

Score by quarters

Pandora-Gilboa 9 11 13 23 — 56

Delphos St. John’s 5 12 7 19 — 43


Aiden Harris 14, Colin Harris 11, Zach Neuenschwander 9, Owen Huffman 8, Aidan Morris 6, Nate Maag 6, Nate Walker 2, Matthew Benroth 2, Totals: 18-19-56


Cameron Elwer 15, Aaron Moenter 8, Andrew Elwer 6, Tyce McClain 4, Joel Schraeder 4, Brayden Klaus 3, Austin Moenter 2, Collin Feathers 1, Totals: 16-5-43

Three-point goals: PG — Neuenschwander 2, C. Harris 1; DSJ — C. Elwer 4, A. Elwer 2.

Records — Pandora-Gilboa 23-2; Delphos St. John’s 22-3

Reach Chris Howell at 567-242-0468 or on Twitter at @Lima_Howell