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ELIDA — The St. Marys boys basketball team was charged with the task of stopping a rested and ready Elida Bulldogs eight days after they suffered their first loss of the season against Toledo Central Catholic and experienced the first roadbump in its expected charmed run through the WBL and the regular season.
On Friday night Elida showed its first loss was a mere hiccup and its struggles at the Huntington Center in Toledo an abberration.
Elida jumped out to a 20-6 first quarter lead and roared to a 69-39 win over the Roughriders at the Elida Fieldhouse.
The Roughriders were buried early.
“We got whitewashed,” St. Marys head coach Dan Hegemier said.
St. Marys picked what it thought the least lethal poison — leaving the wings susceptible with a triangle and two defense designed to slow down standout perimeter players Reggie McAdams and Dakota Mathias.
The defense did just that early in the game. But it also gave guard Aric Thompson room to roam. He’s not McAdams, but Thompson’s long-range shooting early in the game ended up being quite toxic to the Roughriders’ hopes of upsetting the Western Buckeye League’s frontrunner.
“We’ve got more weapons than just Reggie and Dakota,” Elida head coach Denny Thompson said, sitting in his small office that has a mustard-colored sofa from the 1970s situated on one end and little else.
While his office may have spartan sensibility, Thompson’s basketball team is more an embarrassment of offensive riches.
“We executed on offense as well as we’ve executed all season,” Thompson said.
Denny Thompson’s son Aric spoiled St. Marys’ attempt at gumming up the Elida offense with that triangle and two with an early shooting display that allowed the Bulldogs to coast to the 30-point win. Thompson drained the first three treys he attempted in the opening minutes of the first quarter and finished the game 5-of-8 from outside for 15 points.
Thompson settled into that left corner and peppered the basket with early treys.
“We took some gambles as far as leaving some people open and trying to handle McAdams and Mathias,” Hegemier said. “It didn’t work. Thompson came in and stroked it and did a great job. He was patient and his teammates got him the ball. We didn’t handle ourselves well after that.”
Everyone else on Elida’s team joined in shortly thereafter. Four of Elida’s five starters reached double figures.
The Bulldogs knocked down 10-of-22 three-point shots as a team.
McAdams began to heat up in late in the first quarter and early in the second quarter. He scored a game-high 21 points.
McAdams, who became Elida’s all-time leading scorer last week, sent down three dunks. The most asthetically pleasing came when he picked off a Roughrider pass near the top of the key, palmed the ball with one hand as he rose up towards the basket and sent down a powerful two-handed slam.
St. Marys falls back below .500 for the season at 4-5 and evened up its WBL mark at 1-1.
St. Marys’ leading scoring duo of Garet Fledderjohann and J.D. Meyer, averaged a combined 30 points per game coming into the night, but the two never found a rhythm. Fledderjohann scored a team-high 13 points with a late flourish late and Meyer was held to three points on three free throws.
Denny Thompson cited the defense of Cory Royster as the biggest reason for Elida winning the battle in the paint.
“Cory has a body that can go up against a guy like Meyer,” Thompson said. “I think Cory’s physicality made a difference in the post. When Meyer makes shots early on the perimeter, he can start rolling. But we were able to have him not make those early shots.”
D.J. Manning added 11 points for St. Marys, hitting on three first-half 3-pointers.