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MAC Boys Basketball Game of the Week - St. Henry at Delphos St. John's

January 25, 2013
Midwest Athletic Conference (MAC)

A sole leader in the fight for the Midwest Athletic Conference boy’s basketball title will emerge this Friday in Delphos as the St. John’s Blue Jays and St. Henry Redskins tangle in a pivotal MAC battle on the hardwood. To this point in the season, both have survived their respective league schedules, and each currently sit 4-0 in MAC play. The Blue Jays have upended Fort Recovery, Coldwater, Minster and New Knoxville in their league battles, while the Redskins dispatched Minster, New Knoxville, Versailles, and Marion Local. The Redskins have played double weekends almost exclusively since the middle of December, something that St. Henry head coach Eric Rosenbeck has embraced. “The positives are that it has allowed us to get a lot of different looks at different defenses and teams that we are not quite as familiar with,” he pointed out. “This should help prepare us for tournament, which is always a positive.”

The Blue Jays, who are 9-3 and currently enjoying a three game winning streak, have been fueled overall by the outstanding play of two-time first team All-MAC performer Curtis Geise, who averages over 21 points per game. “We are playing the best basketball that we have played all year - offensively we are playing with a lot of confidence and several people are contributing,” remarked St. John’s head coach Aaron Elwer. “It starts with Curtis Geise, who is playing very well and at the same time getting other people involved, which can make us difficult to defend. Defensive standouts have been by committee. As a unit we were much better on the road last weekend at New Knoxville at guarding the ball and contesting shots -this will have to continue as we move forward with our schedule.”

The Redskins, ranked first in this week’s Division IV AP poll, are 14-1 overall and will meet their biggest road test of the season this Friday in a venue they haven’t won in since 2006-07. “St. Henry is the number-one ranked team in the state for several reasons - they are experienced, they have size and skill, and have several players who have the ability to score and defend,” Elwer praised. “Our concerns start with Kyle Stahl and his ability to score around the basket - his teammates do a great job of looking for him. His size and strength is a tough match up for many people, and that includes us. We will match up with them best when we, as a defensive unit, are working together and making things as difficult as we can on them and then playing with confidence at the offensive end.”

The Redskins are paced in scoring and rebounding by Stahl, who hits for 19 points and 11 rebounds per game. Ryan Mikesell adds 14 points each contest, while senior Alex Post pushes six assists per game. While these individuals have provided a lot of punch for the Red and White all season, Rosenbeck is just as impressed with the overall team approach his guys have adopted. “The aspect that stands out the most for us lately is the balance of our team,” he commented. “We have had several times where we had four guys in double figures, which makes it difficult for teams to guard us.”

Opposing coaches agree that the “Vatican” is a difficult place to leave with a victory, but Rosenbeck doesn’t want to give too much credit to a building. “We have only won once up there since 1997, so it is obviously a very tough place to play; however, it has more to do with their players and coaches than the venue itself,” he admitted. “Our biggest concern with St. John’s is all of their shooters. They can really space the floor and knock down open shots, which allows Geise and Ryan Buescher to penetrate and create – this game will come down to the team who makes the most plays.”

by Robb Hemmelgarn

Tags Midwest Athletic Conference (MAC) • Publisher
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