Williams Produces In Return To Van Wert

St. Marys’ LeTrey Williams attempts a 3-point shot during the first half of Friday’s Western Buckeye League boys basketball game against Van Wert.
Sports Editor

It was business like usual for St. Marys.

From start to finish in Friday’s Western Buckeye League match at Van Wert, the Roughriders led thanks to the help of three players scoring in double figures — especially former Cougar LeTrey Williams, as the Roughriders won their fifth straight game with a 54-39 victory.

St. Marys shot 56.7% from the floor (21-of-37) after struggling in that department the last four games and weathered the storm that is Owen Treece, who scored more than half of the Cougars’ points with 20. 

“I’ve been preaching to him, we’re not going to be a great team until we start making some perimeter shots, and not just for one guy, but from all of them,” Roughriders coach Dan Hegemier said. “We have talented enough people that can make those shots and they have to step up and shoot them and shoot with confidence and make them and then everything’s going be fine.”

Hegemier had his offense work on their inside game to start out with Austin Parks notching six points in the opening quarter as St. Marys wasted no time breaking the game open by scoring on six of nine possessions.

Steger found Parks for the Riders’ first basket, followed by Williams feeding Max Mielke on a baseline drive to the basket after back-to-back Cougars’ turnovers to lead 6-1. St. Marys then countered Treece’s bucket with a Mielke-to-Parks feed, a Steger putback on a Parks’ missed layup followed by Parks collecting his sixth point in the quarter with 53.2 seconds left to lead 12-3. Treece added another bucket for a 12-5 first-quarter score. 

With attention paid closely to Parks, it eventually opened the shooting game. 

Steger connected on a 3-pointer to open the second quarter, followed by buckets from Williams and Steger to jump out to a 19-9 lead as St. Marys shot 52.1% (12-of-23) from the floor in the first half and 8-of-13 in the first nine minutes of the game.

Parks scored another career high on Friday with 12 points. 

“Austin is doing a much better job of hit the easy shot,” Hegemier said of the freshman. “He’s growing and growing and growing every game and we’re very very happy about that.”

With Parks’ presence, it allowed Steger to roam the floor more freely, still, the senior got his typical 20 points on the night and Williams beat up on his former school with 18 points — including a trio of buckets in transition off steals on the defensive end — and a pair of 3-pointers — with his last one serving as the last points for St. Marys with 1:08 left.

The trio of Williams, Steger and Parks combined for 50 of the team’s 54 points. 

“Very, very important,” Hegemier said when asked about Parks development with a big game next week. “Until we start shooting the ball from the perimeter, it is extremely important. He’s 6-foot-8 and a half, so he’s going to be getting a lot taller. We’re just working with him all the time and all of our kids understand that for us to be successful, he’s got to do something for us and the last three or four games he has.”

On the defensive end, the Riders knew Treece — the Cougars’ leading scorer — was going to get his points on Friday. 

The Cougars’ senior ranked up 40 points in a 59-53 win against Crestview to open the season — so the Roughriders forced others to try to beat them instead

They didn’t. 

The team shot 32.5% (14-of-43) from the floor but those players not named Treece shot just 20.5% and made seven field goals. 

The Roughriders will host winless Bellefontaine (0-10) on Saturday, but the real test is next week when they travel to No. 8 ranked Shawnee (11-0, 3-0).

“We’ve got to execute a lot better,” Hegemier added. “Shawnee is very well coached, very talented and so when she have that opportunity to score, we have got to score. We can’t make a lot of mistakes on both sides of the ball and I think we will be all right there, but we need to grow up. We have to grow up real quick.”