Miller City's Jackson Lammers (12) drives on Delphos St. John's Evan Hayes (5) during the fourth quarter of their game Tuesday night. Lammers had three big baskets in the fourth quarter to help Miller City to a 39-36 win. (Putnam Sentinel/Charlie Warnimont)
Miller City's Jackson Lammers (12) drives on Delphos St. John's Evan Hayes (5) during the fourth quarter of their game Tuesday night. Lammers had three big baskets in the fourth quarter to help Miller City to a 39-36 win. (Putnam Sentinel/Charlie Warnimont)

ELIDA —Miller City watched Delphos St. Johns grabbed momentum in the fourth quarter of their Division IV, district semi-final game.
The Blue Jays were up five points on the Wildcats after struggling offensively most of the game. But the Wildcats didn't panic. And when they made a couple of plays, Miller City was back in the game and that sudden burst of energy was enough to help them overcome the Blue Jays momentum for a 39-36 win at the Elida Fieldhouse.
Miller City (16-8) advances to face top ranked Crestview (24-0) Friday night in the Division IV district championship game at Elida, at 7 p.m. The Knights advanced to the title game with 65-34 win over Columbus Grove in the opener Tuesday night. The Blue Jays saw their season end at 13-9.
After struggling offensively much of the game, the Blue Jays were getting back on track in the second half taking a five point lead in the third quarter and again in the fourth. However, it was hard for St. John's to maintain their offensive consistency against the Wildcats roaming 2-3 zone.
Tied at 23-23 after three quarters, the Blue Jays scored the first five points of the final quarter as Evan Hayes dropped in a short jumper and after Andy Grothouse split a pair of free throws, Hayes came up a steal he converted into two points for a 28-23 lead.
Miller City didn't panic as Jackson Lammers beat his defender off the dribble for a layup, then seconds later did the same thing. Lammers had a chance to tie the game, but couldn't finish  the three point play leaving the Wildcats down one at 28-27. After a Grothouse free throw pushed the Blue Jay lead to two, Adam Drummelsmith tied the game with a putback with 3:50 left.
Nearly 90 seconds ticked off the clock before the Wildcats took the lead on a three-pointer by Adam Niese only to see Eric Clark answer back for St. John's. Miller City regained the lead 15 seconds later when Drummelsmith converted two free throws with 1:56 left. Neither team would score until there were 24.4 seconds left when Grothouse hit the second of two free throws pulling the Blue Jays within one.
Niese gave Miller a three point lead four seconds later when he got to the basket and scored. St. John's turned the ball over on their next possession, then fouled Niese who drained both free throws. After a missed three-pointer by the Blue Jays, Niese was fouled again and split a pair of free throws. A three-pointer by Clark at the buzzer accounted for the final score.
“The fourth quarter was huge for us,” Miller City coach Bryan Kuhlman said. “We talk about winning every quarter and tonight we were able to win that fourth quarter and the game. We were able to get some penetration we hadn't been getting and that was the difference. Then we made our free throws down the stretch.”
“We had to focus on the game, instead of worrying about some problems we were suffering on the floor. We had some bad passes, stepped out of bounds and there were some things we weren't real happy with. And we called a timeout, we cleaned that up, we atatcked better, got inside and made a couple of easy ones, then they had to foul us. We put the ball in the hands of the guys that can make free throws at the end and they came through,” Kuhlman added.
“It was a closely contested game for the most part,” St. John's coach Aaron Elwer said. “Give credit to our guys for getting over the hump and taking the lead. And give them credit for coming back and eventually taking the lead. This was two teams that didn't want to go home. Unfortunately one has to, that's competition and that's sports.”
St. John's struggled offensively the first half against the Wildcats 2-3 zone. They hit just one field goal in the first quarter in falling behind 6-3 after one quarter and they were 4-of-27 the first half as they were down 15-10 at the break. For the game, the Blue Jays were 14-of-49 (28.5 percent), including a 4-of-20 effort from three-point range. Miller City was 13-of-43 shooting (30 percent) and 4-of-16 from three-point range.
“Obvoiusly you are not going to beat good teams when you shoot that percentage,” Elwer said. “Lucky for us we defended and rebounded well all year and that kept us in the game. The ball has to go in the rim and it didn't do that for us tonight. They (Miller City) did a good job defensively. They packed it in, but they were spread out enough to contest shots and they did a good job taking away the middle of the zone, which is a spot you typically want to attack. We weren't to get inside and honor the paint as much as we wanted to.”
“We are not real big, so we have to work real hard on checking out,” Kuhlman said. “We work on that every night and it paid off for us. The boys are happy with the effort they gave. They knew what their roles were, they checked out their bigs and lucky for us they were not hitting from the outside early on. We can only shut down one or two things. We can't shut down every thing with our size and we elected to play inside and force them to shoot from the outside.”
St. John's offense picked up in the third quarter as baskets by Hayes and Ryan Koester had them within one at 15-14 before Heuerman hit a three-pointer for the Wildcats. The Blue Jays then went on a 9-0 run as they were up 23-18 after a three-pointer by Aaron Hellman. A putback and three-pointer by Heuerman left the game tied at 23-23 going to the final quarter.
Drummelsmith had a double-double for the Wildcats with 14 points and 15 rebounds. Niese added 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Heuerman had eight points and Jackson Lammers seven as just four Wildcats scored.
Grothouse led the Blue Jays with 10 points, while Koester, Clark and Hayes all had six. Tyler Conley pulled down 13 rebounds for the Jays.
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Delphos St. John's 14-49 4-8 36: Andy Grothouse 3-3-10; Ryan Koester 3-0-6; Eric Clark 2-0-6; Evan Hayes 3-0-6; Tyler Conley 2-1-5; Aaron Hellman 1-0-3; Alex Odenweller 0-0-0.
Miller City 13-43 9-13 39: Adam Drummelsmith 4-5-14; Adam Niese 3-3-10; Cory Heuerman 3-1-8; Jackson Lammers 3-0-7; Jacob Gerten 0-0-0; Max Kuhlman 0-0-0.
Delphos St. John's 3 7 13 13 - 36
Miller City 6 9 8 16 - 39
Three-point goals: Delphos St. John's 420 (Clark 2, Grothouse 1, Hellman 1); Miller City 4-16 (Drummelsmith 1, Niese 1, Heuerman 1, J. Lammers 1).
Rebounds: Delphos St. John's 32 (Conley 13); Miller City 35 (Drummelsmith 15).
Turnovers: Delphos St. John's 10, Miller City 13.