BOWLING GREEN — It was apparent from the start of the St. John’s
versus Holgate Division IV Regional semifinal that it was not going to
be an offensive explosion. Both teams’ man-to-man schemes - with the
Tigers collapsing on 6-8 senior Tim Kreeger - made it difficult. In the
end, the Jays’ defense was at its stellar best in shackling the Tigers
40-25 Tuesday night on the Bill Frank Court of the Stroh Center on the
campus of Bowling Green State University.
“It wasn’t pretty or
great Xs and Os basketball; it was tough and all about survival. I am so
proud of these kids and how we remain alive in the tournament; it was
almost who was going to reach 40 first,” St. John’s head coach Aaron
Elwer said. “This is one of the better groups I’ve had that is so
trusting of the coaches and the scouting reports we put together, then
they execute them as well as any. The last four or five games, we’ve
really been good at that.”
The Jays’ man-to-man scheme stymied the Tigers (21-5) to a mere 9-of-38 shooting for 24 percent.
come to work every practice and work hard at becoming a better team,
especially on defense. It all starts with chemistry,” senior Robby Saine
said. “We start out looking to get the ball into Tim and then adjust to
what the defense does from there; we all have to be ready to shoot the
open shots we get. Tim and I were on the Regional final team two years
ago as sophomores and that felt great, but this is even better; we feel
we can do even better.”
St. John’s (20-4) moves on to a Friday
night clash inside Savage Hall at the University of Toledo against
Mansfield St. Peter’s, who ousted North Baltimore in Tuesday evening’s
“I’m used to the physicality; the coaches work hard at
practice to prepare me for this. This is like a normal Friday night
game in the MAC,” Kreeger, who led the Jays with 14 points, nine boards
and six blocked shots, said. “I’m used to the defenses we face and what
teams try to do to me. I was also able to sag some in the middle; we had
a good scouting report on (Jack Clady) and I knew the things he liked
to do, so that made it easier.”
The opening period was especially
close to the vest. Both teams were going to be patient and explore their
options. They combined for 6-of-16 shooting in a low-tempo quarter. The
Jays got off to a 5-0 lead on a 3-pointer by Jared Wurst at 6:22 and an
Owen Rode deuce shortly after, only to see the Tigers rally to tie it
up at 5-5 on on five points from Bailey Hohenberger.
Holgate’s first lead came on a drive by Jake Grim but Jays’ Saine drilled a 3-pointer at 1:38 for an 8-7 edge.
second period saw Kreeger start to get lose for seven points,
especially as 6-3 senior Jack Clady got his second foul at 3:55 and went
to the bench (for only 1:40).
The Jays shot 5-of-10, and when Kreeger netted a hoop-and-harm at 2:30, their halftime edge was 19-14.
third period really saw those defenses settle in and the game take on a
more physical tone. The Tigers switched Clady off of Kreeger and went
with the 6-3 Hohenberger to great effect, holding the Jays to a mere
2-of-9 shooting. On the other end, Kreeger was able to sag into the
middle and alter or block shots, with the Tigers dropping only 1-of-8.
The Tigers’ bucket came at 6:58 on a drive by Hohenberger and the Jays’
two buckets came at 3:19 by Wurst inside and at 1:07 on a coast-to-coast
layup by Collin Will for a 23-16 lead after three.
The Jays took command in the fourth period, building up a 15-point lead several times as the Tigers could not rally.
ran their offense to perfection, going 5-of-5 from the floor and 5-of-6
at the line and even getting a exclamation point dunk by Kreeger at
In the meantime, Holgate managed 3-of-11 as their season came to an end.
felt we came out with some tired legs for some reason but we battled
through that. Give Holgate credit for its tough defense; we had seen it
on film but now we saw it live for 32 minutes,” Elwer said. “We were
also concerned with their pursuit on the glass, especially offensive;
some of their best offense comes from that. Usually, defense is the top
priority we have on our board but today, rebounding was.”
ST. JOHN’S (40)
Saine 2-5 0-0 5, Timothy Kreeger 6-9 2-3 14, Jared Wurst 3-7 0-0 8,
Richard Cocuzza 1-1 2-2 5, Josh Warnecke 0-0 0-0 0, Owen Rode 1-5 0-0 2,
Connor Hulihan 0-3 0-0 0, Collin Will 2-3 2-2 6. Totals 15-33 6-7 40.
Briseno 0-0 0-0 0, Louis Gustwiller 0-3 0-0 0, Clay Waisner 0-0 0-0 0,
Bailey Hohenberger 3-6 0-0 6, Trey Jones 0-1 0-0 0, Jake Grimm 4-`8 4-4
15, Jack Clady 2-10 0-0 4. Totals 9-38 4-4 25.
St. John’s 8 11 4 17 - 40
Holgate 7 7 2 9 - 25
Field Goal Percentage: St. John’s 45.5, Holgate 23.7. Free Throw
Percentage: St. John’s 85.7, Holgate 100. Three-Point Field
Goals/Percentage: St. John’s 4-14/28.6% (Wurst 2, Saine, Cocuzza),
Holgate 3-9/33.3% (Grimm 3). Rebounds: St. John’s 28/6 off. (Kreeger 9),
Holgate 19/7off (Hohenberger 6). Assists: St. John’s 6 (Kreeger 2),
Holgate 6 (Gustwiler/Clady 2). Steals: St. John’s 5 (Kreeger/Hulihan 2),
Holgate 6 (Grimm/Clady 2). Blocked Shots: St. John’s 7 (Kreeger 6),
Holgate 0. Fouls: St. John’s 9, Holgate 12. Turnovers: St. John’s 12,