Vintage St. Marys: Riders Dominate St. Henry

St. Marys’ LeTrey Williams flies toward the basket for a layup during the second quarter of a non-league boys basketball game against St. Henry on Friday.
Sports Editor

So that's what St. Marys basketball is supposed to look like.

Attacking the paint, knocking down perimeter shots, snatching defensive rebounds and playing tenacious defense all while playing with a little bit more swag than what has been seen in the past, the St. Marys boys basketball team showed how it can be done in the Hegemier era again on Friday.

The defense limited St. Henry to one-and-done possessions, Jadin Davis shot lights out from beyond the arc and the Roughriders claimed their first win in Hegemier's second game of his second stint with a 66-32 non-league home-opening win.

"All of our kids did a great job," Hegemier said. "They defended well, they rotated on defense well, we rebounded well. The only thing we didn't do well tonight was shoot free throws. That was horrible."

St. Marys jumped out to an 8-1 lead with 2:23 remaining in the opening quarter, but Davis came off the bench in the second quarter and connected on all four 3-point attempts to propel the Roughriders to a 26-12 mark and a 38-18 halftime lead.

Then the rout was on.

"He has the ability to do that night in and night out so it does not surprise me one bit," Hegemier said of Davis — who had just four field goal attempts last year at the varsity level. "Now the shot right before the half, yeah, that surprised but all of the other ones, no. He has that ability. 

"We started him in the last game and we like Parks to start the games a little bit more so we had Jadin come off the bench and he did a great job."

The 6-foot-3 junior countered Riley Link's trey to open the second stanza and pull within three 12-9 with his own 3-pointer. After a pair of buckets by Ethan Steger and LeTrey Williams, Davis knocked his second 3-pointer down to push St. Marys' lead to 22-13. Steger's bucket and Davis' third 3-pointer pushed the Riders' lead to 27-16 as part of a 15-10 advantage. 

Then the transition baskets came as Steger got a quick two, Davis had a little fun getting the ball and going up for a dunk and Steger connected on an assist by Max Mielke to push the lead to 35-16 with 1:08 left. And for good measure, Davis heaved a buzzer-beating 3-pointer for his fourth trey of the quarter for the 20-point lead at the half.

Davis hit on his fifth 3-pointer with 2:11 left in the third to balloon St. Marys' lead to 47-23, but missed as time expired at the end of the third quarter to finish 5-of-7 for the night from downtown.

But St. Marys was able to jump out early because of its defensive rebounding. 

Hegemier started 6-foot-8 freshman Austin Parks on Friday and coupled with 6-foot-6 senior Steger, the duo grabbed almost every missed shot St. Henry had — which were 12 in the first quarter and five more in the second as opportunities for the Redskins diminished because of turnovers.

Steger finished with a double-double of 20 points and 14 rebounds while Parks snatched 11 boards. As a team, the Roughriders out-rebounded the Redskins 38-19 — with 27 of those rebounds coming on the defensive end.

"I hardly ever play freshmen very much — but he [Parks] is 6-8, he can run, he can jump, he has nice hands and we are going to run him out there and see what he can do," Hegemier said. "Hopefully he continues to grow and grow every game.

"We have nice size, we have nice athleticism and when the ball is going in, well we are looking pretty good."

The defense limited St. Henry to 24% (10-of-41) shooting from the floor and 23% (6-of-26) from 3-point range while St. Marys shot 50% (6-of-12) from downtown.

Steger's paint presence on the offensive end also opened up clean shots for Davis and opened lanes for Williams, as the Van Wert transfer was able to slash through for 15 points — all but three coming from inside the paint.

While Davis, Steger and Williams put up the scoring, Mielke played facilitator. 

The senior, returning from a knee injury sustained a few weeks ago, finished with a game-high seven assists to go along with his five points. Link led the Redskins with 10 points.

Friday's win was the first St. Marys' victory against St. Henry since Feb. 20, 2007 in a 69-62 win.