OTTOVILLE — Delphos St. John’s 6-foot-8 Tim Kreeger took complete hold of the game in the third quarter and didn’t let go.
Kreeger had a decided height advantage against Ottoville and was able to dominate at both ends of the floor.
Kreeger finished with 27 points, seven rebounds and seven blocks to power St. John’s a 55-41 boys basketball victory over Ottoville Tuesday at L.W. Heckman Gymnasium.
There was a stretch from the 3:37 mark of the third quarter to the 4:10 mark of the fourth quarter when Kreeger scored 14 straight points for the Blue Jays.
That helped them take a 36-30 lead and push it to a 50-38 advantage.
“It felt great,” Kreeger said of his stretch. “My teammates were feeding me the ball and they were confident in me.”
Added St. John’s coach Aaron Elwer, “I think there has been a steady improvement, even over the past month (with Kreeger). He’s put up some big numbers and he’s trying to be really consistent, with his rebounding as well. For the most part, Ottoville played straight up, and he obviously had a size advantage and he did a good job of taking advantage of it.”
Delphos St. John’s (13-3) has won 10 in a row. Ottoville is 8-9.
“We just want to keep our blinders on and keep moving forward,” Kreeger said.
Jared Wurst and Owen Rode both had eight points for the Blue Jays. Wurst had two 3-pointers.
Logan Kemper had 12 points and seven rebounds for Ottoville. Zane Martin had 10 points with two 3-pointers. Drew Fisher, a 6-4 freshman had seven points and three rebounds.
As has been the case during the Blue Jays’ winning streak, the man-to-man defense swarmed the Big Green.
The key defensive matchup for St. John’s was defensive stopper Josh Warnecke holding Nick Moorman to two points, 16 below his average.
“Josh started with Moorman and made it as difficult as possible for him and took him out of his comfort zone,” Elwer said. “It’s a five-man unit and we used other guys on him, but he drew that assignment for the most part.”
Kreeger gave the Blue Jays the lead to stay, 19-18, on a 5-footer with 3:25 left in the second quarter.
St. John’s led 24-19 at the half against the 2-3 Ottoville zone.
In the zone, the Big Green’s tallest players were the 6-4 Fisher and the 6-3 Kemper.
Wurst hit two 3-pointers early in the third quarter to pull St. John’s out to a 33-24 lead. It also pushed the Big Green 2-3 out farther to protect the 3-point line.
“Give credit to Jared and over the weekend he put a little extra time in,” Elwer said.
Ottoville coach Todd Turnwald said, “It’s pick your poison and they had been shooting the ball so well that we really felt we had to cover up the threes. And if we’re scoring like we’re normally do, this is fine. We felt if Tim (Kreeger) got 25, great, we wanted to lock down on the threes. …. We wanted to take away the three because that was something we can do and we can trade twos.”
With the 2-3 Ottoville zone out in 3-point protection mode, Kreeger took control.
He closed the third quarter with a 7-footer, a 10-footer and a 12-footer.
Kreeger then started the final quarter with a driving layup and a 5-footer. That gave St. John’s a 46-34 lead with 6:50 to go.
Kreeger also had several blocks and rebounds during that run.
“It was one of those things where they went up and I could read it and they were all a lot smaller than me,” Kreeger said.
St. John’s won the boards, 29-21.
The Blue Jays shot 51 percent from the field and was 4 of 12 on 3-pointers.
Ottoville shot 35 percent from the field and was 4 of 14 on 3-pointers.
Kreeger, a tight end/defensive end in football, has had several Division II offers to play football. He also has several offers for basketball.
He said he recently selected his sport for college.
“I turned down the football offers,” Kreeger said. “I’m going to focus on basketball. I’m not sure where I’m going, but it’s definitely going to be basketball.”