ST. HENRY — The St. Henry boys are ranked 3rd (tied with Toronto) in Ohio in Division IV — one notch behind Crestview. Needless to say, there were no shouts of “Over-rated” Saturday night as the Redskin defense totally stymied the Van Wert offense in a 51-26 rout. St. Henry is now 16-3, Van Wert 10-9.

The Redskins came out of the chute red-hot, rolling up a 12-0 lead before Van Wert senior Nate Place hit two free throws with 2:30 on the clock. It was 15-2 after the first quarter, which was totally dominated by the home team. St. Henry hit 6 of its 10 field goal attempts and out-boarded the Cougars 8-1. Van Wert missed all seven of its field goal tries.

The Redskins’ offense cooled off considerably in the second quarter (6 of 19 field goals), but their defense didn’t let up. The Cougars finally netted a field goal — a three from the right wing by senior Blake Henry at 6:32. Place escaped for one of the very few easy Van Wert shots, a layup at 4:17 that got the Cougs within 18-9. That was as close as the visitors would ever get. It was 31-11 at the half, and the frustrated Cougars had landed only 2 of 17 field goal tries.

The Redskins’ 6’6, 285-pound post, Caden Niekamp, who will be an offensive lineman at Ball State in the fall, was dominant in the first half — scoring 15 points, assisting on three baskets, and dominating the boards.

The third quarter was considerably better for Van Wert. The Cougars hit on 4 of 11 field goal tries, two each by senior Drew Bagley (who had sat out much of the second quarter with three fouls) and by Place. The visitors actually won that quarter 9-8 as St. Henry continued to misfire (3 of 11) from the field. Thus, the margin was 39-20 after three.

The Redskins heated up once more in the fourth quarter while the Cougars went cold again. St. Henry won those eight minutes 12-6, with both coaches emptying the benches for the last three minutes or so.

It was a physical affair from start to finish. The aggressive Redskins contested every pass and every shot, holding Van Wert to single digit scoring in each quarter. For the game as a whole, the Cougs shot only 22 percent (8 of 36) from the field, including 13 percent (2 for 15) from three. St. Henry ended at 41 percent (19 for 46) from the field, 27 percent (5 of 18) from three.

Even the free throws wouldn’t go down for Van Wert — 8 of 16 for 50 percent. St. Henry hit 8 of 13 for 61 percent. The Redskins dominated the boards 42-16. Van Wert had fewer turnovers, 13-15.

Caden Niekamp cooled down considerably in the second half, but still ended up leading all scorers with 19 points, rebounds with 14, and assists with 4. He got scoring support from senior Jay Knapke with 14. Nine Redskins played a lot, giving them a constant supply of fresh legs to apply the pressure.

Only five Cougars entered the scoring column, led by Place with 15 and Bagley with 6. Place and Bagley also led Van Wert rebounders with 5 apiece.

The Cougar jayvees pulled out a 38-34 win behind the stellar performance of junior Keaton Brown, who scored half of Van Wert’s points (19).

Van Wert (26)

Nate Place 15, LeTrey Williams 1, Blake Henry 3, Lawson Blackmore 0, Drew Bagley 6, Clayton Proffitt 0, Owen Treece 0, Tanner Barnhart 0, Keaton Brown 0, Parker Conrad 1, Colin Place 0, Jake Hilleary 0.

St. Henry (51)

Zach Niekamp 6, Jay Knapke 14, Ben Evers 0, Ethan Thieman 3, Caden Niekamp 19, Logan Lefeld 0, Andrew Lange 5, Riley Link 2, Bennett Gels 0, Sam Hartings 0, Matt Bertke 2.

Van Wert 2 9 9 6 - 26

St. Henry 15 16 8 12 - 51

3-point shooting: VW 2/15 (Henry, Place), SH 5/18 (Caden Niekamp 2, Knapke, Lange,Thieman). Rebounds: VW 16, SH 42. Fouls: VW 14, SH 19. Turnovers: VW 13, SH 15. Jayvee score: VW 38-34.