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Boys Basketball: St. Marys dominates tournament rematch with Elida

Mar. 8—FINDLAY — Much like daylight saving time, St. Marys' boys basketball team picked March as the time to spring forward.

Twenty-seven days after losing 58-49 to Elida on Feb. 9, the Roughriders dominated the Bulldogs 65-51 in a Division II district semifinal at Liberty-Benton High School on Thursday night.

That turnaround sent St. Marys into Saturday night's district championship game against Shawnee, which won the other district semifinal at Liberty-Benton on Thursday.

Evan Angstmann scored 21 points to lead the Roughriders (18-6). Jace Turner had 15 points and 10 rebounds and Noah Payne scored 14 points. A'mari Wash led Elida (16-8) with 15 points.

St. Marys ran out to a 14-3 lead in the game's first five minutes, a run that included 3-pointers from Angstmann and Turner, a pair of 6-7 seniors. Things got even worse for Elida by halftime when it found itself down 33-14 and in the first three minutes of the third quarter when St. Marys' lead grew to more than 20 points.

St. Marys shot 59 percent (24 of 41) and held Elida to 32 percent shooting (19 of 58).

"The first time we played Elida we couldn't really stop the ball. We really focused on that in practice and I think we did a pretty good job on that tonight," Payne said. "Their guards were all getting to the basket the last time and this time I think we did a really good job stopping the ball and playing really good defense."

Angstmann said, "The first game they just ran at us the whole game. In practice, we had drills to help that. We just came in with a lot of energy. We started off 14-3. That run just helped us throughout the game."

St. Marys coach Dan Hegemier said, "Elida is a very quick and aggressive team. I thought we handled that really well in the first half. At the end of the third quarter and part of the fourth quarter, not so much. But Elida is a very, very good team.

"The first time we played them we just let our point guard take the ball down the floor and I wasn't going to do that tonight. We ran our press breaker the whole time and we got some easy transition baskets. That's key when you're playing in a very high-pressure game to get some easy baskets and that's what we did," he said.

"I thought our kids came out with a better focus tonight. For the last three weeks, we have not been healthy, we couldn't practice and bad things just happened to us. It's good to get healthy. It's good to defend like we did tonight."

In an era of frequent substitutions in high school basketball, St. Marys is kind of a throwback to the days when the top six or seven players got 90 percent or more of the playing time.

Some teams have tried to wear the Roughriders down or hoped to wear them out. But St. Marys has been preparing for its Iron Man approach for a long time.

"We've been running since the summer," Turner said. "He (coach Dan Hegemier) has us out at the track running miles and getting under six minutes and everything."

Now the Roughriders hope there is a long tournament run ahead of them.

St. Marys 65, Elida 51

Score by quarters:

St. Marys 14 19 16 16 — 65

Elida 9 5 16 21 — 51

ST. MARYS

Evan Angstmann 21, Alex Hoenie 4, Jace Turner 14, Noah Payne 14, Cobain Owens 9, Brennan Steger 2. Totals: 24-12-65.

ELIDA

A'mari Wash 15, Jackson Covault 5, David Etzkorn 7, Seth Sharp 9, Zori Island 8, Parker Crim 2, Eben Jackson 2, Tanner Roberts 2, Dean Baumgartner 1. Totals: 19-8-51.

Three-point goals: SM — Angstmann 2, Turner 2, Owens 1; E — Wash 1, Covault 1, Etzkorn 1, Sharp 1, Island 1.

Records: St. Marys 18-6; Elida 16-8.