ST. MARYS — The St. Marys boys basketball team might’ve grabbed the momentum that eluded the Roughriders for the first few weeks of the season.
The Roughriders' switch to man-to-man defense held Indian Lake to just one second-quarter point and St. Marys excelled in their half-court offense to pull away for a 56-35 win on Saturday night at Memorial High School.
A night after a 49-46 win at New Knoxville, St. Marys reached the .500 level at 4-4 and has won back-to-back games for the first time since last February. The Roughriders have also won four of their last six games.
“It was a really good team win,” St. Marys head coach Dan Hegemier said. “The Lake is a pretty good team, they’ve got some nice players. We threw all of our junk defenses at them in the first quarter and nothing worked, so we manned up and our kids stepped up. and we hit our free throws.”
Junior Isaac Fitzgerald sparked the Roughriders in the first half, scoring 12 of his 16 points in the first two quarters. Fitzgerald knocked down four of his six attempted 3-pointers.
“Isaac had a great first half, didn’t he?,” Hegemier said. “He was really solid.”
St. Marys freshman Derek Jay added 13 points, going 7 of 8 from the free throw line. Junior Quinn Zaerr added 10 points in the post for the Roughriders. Marquis Wilson had eight points and Nathan Wilker went 7 of 10 at the free throw line for seven points.
St. Marys hit 20 of 24 free throws after getting into the bonus in the third quarter and the double bonus midway through the fourth quarter.
Cutting down on errors served the Roughriders well over the two-win weekend. St. Marys committed seven turnovers on Saturday a night after having just nine of them against New Knoxville in a 49-46 win.
After making seven of their first 12 shots in the first quarter, Indian Lake was 0 for 6 from the floor in the second quarter as St. Marys took a 28-15 lead to the half when Marquis Wilson banked in a runner with three seconds left in the half.
“We were on a good roll,” Hegemier said. “We didn’t even want to go in for halftime because we were on a roll.”
Indian Lake drew to within 36-31 in the final seconds of the third quarter, but St. Marys responded with a knockout punch in the fourth quarter.
Wilson knocked down a shot to start the fourth quarter and the Riders started taking advantage of the foul situation. St. Marys hit 11 of 12 free throws over the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, with Jay, Fitzgerald and Nathan Wilker all delivering at the charity stripe.
“We started running a little half court and got a big basket from Isaac Fitzgerald on a rip play,” Hegemier said.
St. Marys took only three shots from the floor in the fourth quarter, going 2 of 3.
Indian Lake made a pair of trips to Auglaize County in two days and went home winless. New Bremen knocked off the Lakers 69-55 on Friday night.
Brennon Lump led Indian Lake with 12 points.
Hegemier received a commemorative basketball in a glass case after the game to honor his 500th win, which he won on Friday night in a 49-46 win at New Knoxville.
St. Marys has two more non-league games before dipping back into Western Buckeye League play on Friday, Jan. 10. The Roughriders host Spencerville on Saturday, Jan 4 with a 6 p.m. junior varsity tip-off and host Coldwater on Tuesday, Jan. 7 for a 6 p.m. game.