Delphos St. John's remains tied atop MAC after win over New Knoxville


NEW KNOXVILLE – The Delphos St. John’s boys basketball team used a good first half to get a lead against the New Knoxville Rangers and they rode that in the second half to defeat the Rangers 65-47 in a key MAC game played at The Barn.

The Blue Jays led 18-7 after one quarter and 40-19 at the half.

“St. John’s came out ready to play and we didn’t,” Rangers head coach Kort Fledderjohann said. “They punched us in the mouth and we backed down. We talked about it at halftime and we talked about at the end of the game our kids have to get physically and mentally tougher.”

Delphos St. John's at New Knoxville Boys Basketball Photos

Curtis Geise led all scorers with 23 points and Eric Clark had 15 points for Delphos.

“That is about as well as we have played in a half in a while,” Delphos head coach Aaron Elwer said. “They were stretching on both ends of the floor and there were a lot of fouls. We were a little more defensive minded this week and other than a couple of breakdowns they did a good job on the boards and that takes care of itself.”  

Jake Allen led the Rangers with 11 points and Isaac Kuntz had 10 points.

St. John’s got off to a quick start with the first six points of the game on two baskets by Ryan Buescher and a basket from Seth Bockey, but the Rangers answered back with a bomb from Isaac Kuntz. That is when the Blue Jays started hitting from outside with a bomb from Eric Clark for a 9-3 lead with 3:16 left. By the end of the quarter Delphos had built an 18-7 lead.

In the game Delphos went 9 of 22 from beyond the arc including five from Clark for his 15 points.

“We got a lot of people involved in our dribble drive,” Elwer said. “We did a good job penetrating and getting the ball to other people. Once somebody makes one or two everybody gets confident and especially in the second quarter everybody was real confident.”  

The Blue Jays outscored the Rangers 22-12  in the second quarter to build a 40-19 lead at halftime.

“Offensively we were able to get it going,” Elwer said. “We made good decisions and had a lot of guys get second shots tonight.”

New Knoxville cut the deficit to 13 in the third quarter on a three-point play by Jake Allen at 42-29, but Delphos continued to hit baskets to gain a 48-33 lead as the fourth quarter began.

“We came out at halftime,” Elwer said. “We have been really good at the beginning of the second half and we talked about our mid set. Midway through the third quarter we got things going and the kids continued to play through the fourth quarter.”

Eric Clark began the fourth quarter with two treys to expand the lead to 54-33 with 7:42 left. Jake Allen answered for the Rangers with a three, but Clark made another three followed by another three by Allen to make the score 57-39 with 6:17 left. The Blue Jays hit free throws down the stretch for the 65-47 victory.

“Geise made it tough on us tonight,” Fledderjohann said. “When Delphos hits shots like they did tonight they are going to win.”

In the JV game Delphos won on a shot by Aaron Hellman with four seconds left 37-36.

The Rangers (6-7, 1-3) will travel to New Bremen next Friday, while Delphos (9-3, 4-0) will host St. Henry next Friday.

DSJ        18     22     8     17    — 65
NK           7     12     14     14    — 47

Geise 8-6-23, Clark 5-0-15, Buescher 3-2-9, Bockey 2-2-6, Grothouse 2-0-5, Hays 1-2-4, Koester 1-0-3; Totals 22-12-65.

J. Allen 4-1-11, Kuntz 4-0-10, Howe 3-1-8, Lageman 3-0-8, Arnett 2-0-4, Kuck 2-0-4, Topp 1-0-2; Totals 19-2-47.