boys_basketball_150Through the first four of weeks of the 2013-14 boys’ basketball season, the Delphos St. John’s Blue Jays were on fire, winning seven of their first eight games including their first two Midwest Athletic Conference battles of the season.  They suddenly ran into a few buzz saws though against some stiff competition and slipped in three straight contests to Fort Recovery, New Knoxville, and top-ranked Crestview.  Aaron Elwer’s crew started things heading in the right direction last week with a 61-47 win over St. Henry and will have the rigid task of squaring off with the Marion Local Flyers in Delphos this Friday night.  “Coming off of a tough week with five games in eight days and having our first real adversity hit this team it was good to see our players respond at St. Henry where it is always tough to play” Elwer commented.  “It was great to see the confidence with which our players played for thirty-two minutes – hopefully that is something we can keep going.”

The Flyers head to Delphos as one of two remaining unbeatens in MAC play at 4-0 in the conference.  Like St. John’s, the Flyers tipped the season off on a rampage by winning their first nine games before slipping in two of three against Celina and Jackson Center.  They were also victorious last week on the road against the Versailles Tigers and look to keep things heading in a positive direction this week against St. John’s.  “Our win over Celina in the Mercer County holiday tournament was a big win, but given the league ramifications and the fact that it was on the road probably makes the Versailles win last week our biggest of the year,” commented Marion Local head coach Kurt Goettemoeller. “We have put ourselves in a position to compete for the league title and it makes every league game have even greater importance.”

The Flyers have enjoyed balanced scoring all season and are led offensively by Luke Knapke and Ryan Bruns at 13.3 and 10.7 points per game, while Adam Bertke and Knapke have paced the Blue and Gold in the rebounding department with more than seven each time they take the floor.  “The first things that stands out about Marion Local is their size and length,” Elwer pointed out. “You simply cannot simulate the type of size that they bring which makes it very difficult to play against.  We will need to win all hustle plays, attempt to limit them to one shot each possession, and be really efficient at the offensive end in order to pick up a win this week.”

Goettemoeller understands the difficulties of playing against St. John’s on the road and will need to contend with Andy Grothouse and Ryan Koester, who lead the Blue Jays in scoring at 13 and 11 points per game respectively, while Alex Odenweller is tops in the MAC from beyond the three-point line by hitting more than half the long balls he launches.  “No doubt it is a difficult place to play, mainly because of the great players and coaches they have year in and year out,” Goettemoeller remarked.  “This year is no different – they have good players and will be well-prepared on Friday. We will have to limit turnovers, keep our composure, and not allow a 2-4 point run snowball into a 10-12 point run as can happen when playing up there.”


By Robb Hemmelgarn