(DHI Media/ John Parent)
(DHI Media/ John Parent)
VAN WERT – In a game where no one could seem to make a shot, St. John’s junior Brady Parrish made two of the biggest of his life. Parrish connected on a pair of 3-pointers in the game’s final minute, including one to beat the fourth quarter buzzer as the Blue Jays claimed a Division IV sectional title with a 30-29 win over Lima Central Catholic on Friday night in Van Wert.

“I’m so happy for our team, and I’m so happy for Brady,” St. John’s head coach Aaron Elwer said following the celebration. “He’s a good player, and he’s a smart kid; he works at it. For the ball to be in his hands and for him to knock two of the biggest shots of his career, including the game winner, I’m just so happy for him.”

Down two with 22 seconds left, the Jays used their final timeout and drew up one last set. St. John’s moved the ball through the hands of senior Jared Wurst, over to Parrish on the right wing. Parrish drove the baseline, but was cut off by a Thunderbird defender. He passed to Lucas Metcalfe, then curled back to the wing. Metcalfe dribbled toward the hoop, then spun and found Parrish behind the arc. Parrish elevated and found the bottom of the net as the buzzer sounded, sending the Jays to the district semifinals next week.

“It felt good,” Parrish said of the last-second shot. “It was the last second; you just have to put it up and hope it goes in.”

St. John’s trailed by as many as eight points halfway through the final period. With 5:35 to play, the Jays had managed just 17 points in the game and had committed 16 turnovers.

“It wasn’t a work of art by any stretch, but you survive and advance,” Elwer said. “Our guys gutted it through. That’s the way it has been all year. This is a resilient bunch, and I’m proud of our guys, and I’m happy we get to play again on Tuesday.”

Neither Lima Central Catholic (12-12), nor St. John’s (16-7) were particularly good on the offensive end, but the T-birds managed to take care of the ball at a much better rate than did the Jays, at least until the last three minutes of the game. Coming out of a timeout, St. John’s cranked up the defensive pressure and forced back-to-back LCC miscues, leading to layups by Brady Grothaus and Curtis Schwinnen. A free throw by Wurst pulled the Jays to within three at 27-24. That 5-0 spurt helped to get St. John’s back into the game, but the T-birds lent a hand as well. LCC missed four of six free throw attempts down the stretch, including two front-ends of one-and-one situations, allowing the Jays to stay close. After a Biggz Johnson free throw put the Thunderbirds up by four with 42 seconds left, Metcalfe found Parrish in the right corner for an open three. The junior connected and pulled St. John’s to within one. Johnson again made the second of two at the line for LCC, setting up the final sequence for St. John’s.

After shooting just 18 percent through the game’s first three quarters, St. John’s got things together a bit in the fourth, making five of nine (55 percent) from the floor in the game’s final period. Parrish was 2-for-2 in the game, scoring the Jays’ final six points.

Neither team had a scorer reach double figures. Sophomore Rossy Moore stood out for LCC off the bench, leading the team with 8 points and 6 rebounds. He also had 5 steals. Wurst, an all-Midwest Athletic Conference performer, finished with a game-high 9 points, but added 11 rebounds. Isaac Fairchild contributed 7 points off the Blue Jay bench.

St. John’s will face Crestview (22-1) in the 6:15 game on Tuesday night at the Elida Fieldhouse.

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LIMA CENTRAL CATHOLIC (29)

Biggz Johnson 0-8 5-10 5, Jeremy Allen 0-4 0-0 0, Shaun Thomas 3-6 0-0 6, Dominic Riepenhoff 0-2 0-0 0, De’Montre Garner 2-5 0-0 4, Rossy Moore 3-11 1-2 8, Nate Stolly 0-0 0-0 0, Jaron Banks 0-0 0-0 0, Matthew Riepenhoff 3-4 0-0 6; Totals: 11-40 6-12 29

DELPHOS ST. JOHN’S (30)

Lucas Metcalfe 1-5 2-2 4, Curtis Schwinnen 1-1 0-0 2, Grant Csukker 0-3 0-0 0, Jared Wurst 3-13 1-3 9, Brady Parrish 2-2 0-0 6, Brady Grothaus 1-1 0-0 2, Aiden Rode 0-2 0-0 0, Tyler Ruda 0-1 0-0 0, Isaac Fairchild 2-4 2-4 7, ; Totals 10-32 5-10 30

LCC 2 8 13 6 – 29

DSJ 6 3 8 13 – 30

3-point field goals: LCC 1-5 (Moore), DSJ 5-19 (Wurst 2, Parrish 2, Fairchild); Rebounds: LCC 24 (Moore 6), DSJ 32 (Wurst 11); Assists: LCC 6 (Thomas 3), DSJ 7 (Metcalfe 4); Turnovers: LCC 8, DSJ 18: Fouls: LCC 15, DSJ 15