ELIDA — It was easy to figure out the turning point of Tuesday night’s Division IV District semifinal involving St. John’s and Continental.

All one had to look at was an 18-1 second period in favor of the Blue Jays.

That led to a 53-31 triumph over the Pirates on the Union Bank Court of the Elida Fieldhouse.

St. John’s (18-4) will now play Crestview, a 41-37 victor of Kalida in the opener Tuesday, at 7 p.m. Friday back at the Fieldhouse for a Regional berth.

After a 9-9 tie to end the first period, the Jays dominated the second period on both ends of the floor. They shut out the Pirates (15-10) on 0-of-8 shooting, only ceding 1-of-2 foul shots by Trevor Williamson at 2:03. The Jays canned 6-of-10 shots on the offensive end as they solved the Pirate 1-2-2 zone defense primarily focused on containing 6-8 senior center Tim Kreeger (11 points, 10 boards), with six different players contributing at least two points. A 3-ball by Jared Wurst (11 points) at 7:30 put them in the lead for good and when Kreeger hit a reverse layin a second before the horn, the Jays led 27-10 at the half.

“I thought we had guarded them pretty well the first period outside of a couple of breakdowns but we were even better the second period. That’s where it’s probably good we played them 10 days ago; we had a good idea of their tendencies and the kids committed to that well,” St. John’s head coach Aaron Elwer explained. “Offensively, we’re getting more contributions from more people, which is what we’ve been working for; Tim gets a lot of press for his scoring and rebounding but we aren’t a 1-man team. He’s gotten much better reading the defense and our ‘other’ four are scoring on 3s or getting to the basket.”

Continental head coach Kurtis Brown agreed on the keys to the game.

“That second period was the game. St. John’s is a skilled, disciplined team that will stick to its game plan and it finally clicked for them,” Brown explained. “Once they hit a couple of shots, that builds up their confidence. Their defense stepped it up in intensity the second period and we didn’t execute our offense at all. We had a couple of unforced turnovers and that’s all they need to get rolling.”

The Pirates played even with their foe in the third period, netting nine each, despite their drought from the field extending another 2:41 until Chris Potts buried a trey at 5:19. Both defenses ruled the quarter, with the teams combining on 7-of-19 shooting. When Jacob Williams (8 points) scored inside for the Pirates at 1:14, that made the scoreboard read 36-19, Jays.

Wade Stauffer hit a 14-footer to open the fourth for Continental but that was as close as they would get the rest of the night. The Jays doubled up their foe twice the rest of the game as the benches emptied toward the end.

Continental’s zone defense and St. John’s man-to-man were sticky in the opening period, with the offenses combining on 7-of-19 shooting. Kreeger didn’t have much room to operate; neither did the Pirates. Their last fielder came midway through the period — a Williams basket in the paint — and when he downed a pair of tosses at 1.3 seconds, the score was tied at 9.

Four Pirates: Williams, Stauffer, Trevor Williamson and Dean Krendl; played their final basketball games in Continental uniforms.

“When they got into high school four years ago, they dedicated themselves to putting Continental basketball back on the map; it had been since 2011 when we last won a Sectional title and these guys worked hard to get us there. These four will be difficult to replace,” Brown added.


Tyler Brecht 0-4 0-0 0, Trevor Williamson 2-7 1-2 6, Wade Stauffer 1-6 2-4 4, Caleb Olds 2-8 0-0 5, Jacob Williams 3-8 2-2 8, Chris Potts 2-4 0-0 6, Dean Krendl 0-0 0-0 0, Jarrett Keck 0-1 0-0 0, Nick States 0-0 0-0 0, Cameron Mason 1-1 0-0 2, Christian Keller 0-0 0-0 0, Alex Hale 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 11-39 5-8 31.

ST. JOHN’S (53)

Robbie Saine 1-5 0-0 3, Tim Kreeger 5-10 1-2 11, Jared Wurst 3-8 3-3 11, Richard Cocuzza 3-6 0-0 6, Josh Warnecke 3-4 0-1 6, Owen Rode 1-2 1-1 4, Connor Hulihan 1-2 1-2 3, Collin Will 0-2 2-2 2, Jacob Hellman 1-1 0-0 2, Lucas Metcalfe 0-0 2-2 2, Curtis Schwinnen 0-0 0-0 0, Troy Elwer 0-0 0-0 0, Grant Csukker 0-0 1-2 1, Matthew Miller 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 18-40 13-18 53.

Score by Quarters:

Continental 9 1 9 12 - 31

St. John’s 9 18 9 17 - 53

Total Field Goal Percentage: Continental 28.2, St. John’s 45. Free Throw Percentage: Continental 62.5, St. John’s 72.2. Three-Point Field Goals/Percentage: Continental 4-14/28.6% (Potts 2, Williamson, Olds), St. John’s 4-16/25% (Wurst 2, Rode, Saine). Rebounds: Continental 20/8 off. (Williams 6), St. John’s 31/10 off. (Kreeger 10). Assists: Continental 4 (Williams 2), St. John’s 12 (Kreeger 4). Steals: Continental 6 (Olds 2), St. John’s 6 (Warnecke/Wurst 2). Blocks: Continental 0, St. John’s 3 (Kreeger 3). Turnovers: Continental 13, St. John’s 10. Fouls: Continental 17, St. John’s 9.