â˘ NEW KNOXVILLE - It all came down to free throws as Minster defeated New Knoxville 56-52 in a Midwest Athletic Conference contest on Friday night.
âGoing on the road, you just have to make sure that you stay aggressive, even though it wasnât pretty,â said Minster head coach Mike Lee. âHats off to their team as well. I thought both teams competed hard.â
After trailing by 1-point with 1:44 left in the game, Minster hit 8-of-10 free throws in the final 1:02 for the victory.
Adam Niemeyer personally hit 7-of-8 free throw attempts in the gameâs final 21 seconds.
âWe were in the single and double bonus there for quite some time, so we kept stressing we needed to be aggressive,â said Lee. âOnce we got to the line, especially in the double bonus situations, maybe it took a little bit of the pressure off, especially (Niemeyer). Once he started stringing them, it was good to see because we wanted him with the basketball in his hands.â
Knoxville had several opportunities towards the end of the game, including a three-pointer by Jake Allen to trim Minsterâs lead to to 3 with 3.2 seconds left. Niemeyer then hit the second of two free throw attempts with 2.2 seconds remaining to seal the win for Minster.
New Knoxville opened the fourth quarter with a 2-point advantage over Minster.
Jake Allen opened the fourth quarter with a basket for the Rangers, but Austin Knapke quickly responded by hitting two free throws for Minster.
Andrew Arnett soon hit a basket for New Knoxville, but Minster soon answered with a 4-0 run, courtesy of a basket and corresponding free throw by Devon Poeppelman, along with a game-tying free throw by Niemeyer.
âWe got off to a good start. They trailed back in it and once they got a 4,5 point lead there in the third or early fourth, our kids didnât panic,â said Lee.âThey went back to work, had some good looks at the basket and knocked a few shots down. It was imperative that we did that in that particular period of time.â
New Knoxville re-gained the lead on two Matteo Ceroni free throws, but Doug Huber soon responded with a game-tying basket for Minster.
Knoxville re-took the lead 90 seconds later, this time courtesy of a free throw by Seth Kuck, but Devon Poeppelman soon answered with a basket to give Minster its first lead of the second half.
Austin Knapke added a free throw and Minster led 49-47 with 1:02 left in the game. Minster then outscored New Knoxville 7-5 the rest of the way.
Allen opened the game with a basket for Knoxville, but Ryan Hoying answered with a three-pointer for the Wildcats.
Seth Kuck then hit a bucket for the Rangers, but Minster responded by going on a 7-0 run, courtesy of a basket by Hoying and a three-pointer and basket by Poeppelman. Minster led 10-4 with 4:21 still remaining in the first quarter.
Andrew Arnett soon hit a three-pointer for Knoxville, but Minster responded by going on an 8-0 run, thanks to a basket by Austin Knapke, a three-pointer by Ethan Wolf and a basket and corresponding free throw by Niemeyer.
Lucas Leffel ended the quarter by scoring 4 straight points for New Knoxville, who trailed 18-11 after one quarter of play.
Niemeyer opened the second quarter with a basket for Minster, but Knoxville went on a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 2. The run came courtesy of a three-pointer and free throw by Leffel, along with a three-pointer by Adam Howe.
Minster went on a quick 3-0 run, followed by a basket by the Rangersâ Matteo Ceroni. Brandon Hoying then hit a three-pointer for Minster, who led 26-20 with 3:32 left in the first half.
Knoxville answered with a 7-0 run, courtesy of a basket by Allen, another three-pointer by Leffel and two free throws by Arnett. The Rangers led 27-26 with 1:54 left in the first half.
Brandon Hoying answered with his second three-pointer of the game for Minster, but Ceroni turned a rebound into a game-tying bucket just before the buzzer.
New Knoxville and Minster entered the locker rooms tied at 29.
Leffel opened the second half with a bucket for the Rangers, but Doug Huber scored two straight baskets to give Minster a 33-31 lead with 5:42 left in the third quarter.
Three scoreless minutes passed before Knoxville went on a 5-0 run, courtesy of a basket by Ben Kuck and a three-pointer by Leffel. Poeppelman then hit two free throws by Minster to cut the Wildcat deficit to 1.
Knoxville answered with a 4-0 run, but in the final 10 seconds of the quarter, Ryan Hoying hit his third three-pointer of the game for Minster.
The Rangers led 40-38 after three quarters of play before they were outscored 18-12 in the fourth quarter.
Niemeyer and Poeppelman both scored 12 points for Minster, while Huber added 9 and Ryan Hoying scored 8.
Allen and Leffel both scored 13 points for New Knoxville. Ceroni scored 8 and Arnett added 7.
â˘ By BRIAN SMITH
MINSTER â Offensive rebounds and easy baskets meant everything in a low-possession, low-shooting percentage contest between Minster and St. Marys on Saturday night.
Minster got more of both.
The Wildcats downed St. Marys 50-42 with a steady infusion of second-chance points and backdoor lay-ups to go with some stingy defense.
"In a game that we knew was going to be tough and low possessions, a 4-0 or a 6-2 run was huge in this game and we had a couple of those in the third quarter," Minster head coach Mike Lee said.
The Wildcats have no problems playing slowed down games. Minster is 6-4 in games in which the combined score was under 100 points this season and has won its last three in those under-100 contests.
Minster junior Devon Poeppelman scored 16 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for the Wildcats, who Wildcats improved to 9-9 on the season with a double weekend of wins over New Knoxville and the Riders. Minster has won four of its last six games.
Minser dominated the offensive glass with 11 offensive rebounds despite being without leading rebounder Doug Huber (who averages more than seven rebounds per game).
Things opened up in the fourth quarter, as both teams scored 17 points apiece. Minster kept its lead by getting easy baskets on backdoor cuts for easy lay-ups.
"We didn't call some picks and they got them," St. Marys head coach Dan Hegemier said.
St. Marys fell to 5-12 and lost its fifth straight game.
J.D. Meyer led St. Marys with 13 points and seven rebounds.
Austin James, who added 12 points, continued his second-half tear from behind the three-point arc. James knocked down three treys on the night and is now 32-of-80 (40 percent) from long distance this season after starting the season slowly from the perimeter.
"We could never put them away because of their lethal shooting from the perimeter," Lee said.
While the Riders were a pedestrian 6-of-20 from beyond the three-point arc for the game, they went 4-of-7 from long distance in the fourth quarter. That included two final quarter treys rom D.J. Manning, who had 10 points.
St. Marys' Seth Fitzgerald had five rebounds to go with two points off the bench.
Both teams were either short-handed or hobbled in the game.
Minster played without Doug Huber, a first-team All-MAC selection from a season ago. Minster's Ethan Wolf started at center and scored nine points and grabbed six rebounds while guarding St. Marys' Meyer along with stints from back-up center Wes Hegemann.
"We were a little short-handed in our rotation and Meyer is a load because he's a rare kid who can step out at that size and shoot it," Lee said. "We got a lot more minutes out there from Ethan because he was in foul trouble last night at New Knoxville and it was good to see him get out there and get solid defensively and be active on the glass."
St. Marys' Garet Fledderjohann played limited minutes after receiving three intravenous bags at the hospital on Friday night. J.D. Meyer played on an sprained ankle, grimacing after making his lone three-pointer of the night after landing awkwardly.
"J.D.'s banged-up, Garet's banged-up," Hegemier said, pausing for a few seconds to tell the trainer his team needed ice â preferably more than one bag. "Our young men are busting their tails."
Adam Niemeyer added nine points for Minster. He upped Minster's halftime lead to 22-18 when he stole a pass and put in a lay-up with a few seconds left in the second quarter.
Minster defeated St. Marys for the sixth straight season and improved to 2-0 this season against Western Buckeye League opponents. The Wildcats beat Wapakoneta two weeks ago in overtime, 45-39.
St. Marys turned the ball over just 10 times on the night while Minster turned it over 14 times, but Hegemier thought it was the timing of the turnovers more than the volume that hurt the Roughriders more.
The Wildcats fouled St. Marys on three 3-point attempts. St. Marys drew two fouls on 3-point attempts the night before against Ottawa-Glandorf, as well.
Minster hosts St. Henry on Friday night at 6:30 p.m. and wraps up its season on Friday, Feb. 24 at Marion Local at 6:30 p.m. before starting its tournament.
The Roughriders travel to Van Wert on Friday night at 6 p.m. and host Sidney Lehman on Saturday at 6 p.m. in a home finale. The Riders wrap up the regular season on Feb. 24 at Shawnee before starting their tournament run.
Minster will host St. Henry on Friday.