JIMTOWN — The emotional leader of the South Bend St. Joseph boys basketball team became a game hero in the Class 3A Jimtown Sectional on Saturday, March 8.
Junior Keaton Wieschhaus drilled a jumper from the free throw line with one second to play in regulation and then scored the first four points of overtime to lead the Indians to a 56-49 victory over rival Marian, giving St. Joe it’s first sectional title since 2001.
"We had a couple plays drawn up, one for a 3-pointer and one for a straight two,’’ St. Joe coach Mike Bauer said. "Marian did a good job of defending the three, but we were able to free up Keaton and he came through.’’
"Give him credit, he hit a tough shot that was decently defended,’’ Marian coach Robb Berger said. "We still had a couple of fouls to give there and we were trying to foul, but we weren’t able to get it done.’’
The Knights took a 44-43 lead on a driving layup by junior guard Devin Cannady with 16 seconds to play in regulation.
After a St. Joe turnover, Marian’s Jake Whitfield hit one-of-two free throws to push the Knights’ lead to two with nine seconds to play.
But after one Marian foul and two Indian timeouts, Wieschhaus’ shot sent the game to overtime.
"I knew I was one of the options and I really was hoping to get the ball,'' Wieschhaus admitted. "When the ball came to me, I was comfortable and confident that I could hit it.''
"I thought our old bugaboo of free throw shooting really hurt us late,'' Berger said. "Hitting just two-of-four from the line in the final 56 seconds was a tough blow. But we were at 50 percent in the sectional before tonight and then 50 percent down the stretch when it counted tonight. That's something we'll really have to improve on for next season.''
With the St. Joe crowd already at a fever pitch, Wieschhaus whipped the level up a notch by hitting a jumper to start the overtime and then a driving layup at the 3:04 mark to give St. Joe a quick 49-45 lead.
A tough layup by the Knights' Ryan Schafer would cut the lead to two, before a free throw by Ryan Wobbe and two more by Matt Gergely pushed the Indian lead back to five with just 45 seconds left.
Cannady would hit two from the charity stripe five seconds later to make it 52-49, but he was soon out of the game, whistled for his fifth foul with 34 seconds left.
Without their leading score, the Knights would not score again and St. Joe was able to finally put the game away by hitting four-of-six free throws in the final 34 seconds.
While Cannady would lead the Knights with 18 points, he shot just seven-of-17 from the field, as St. Joe used the 6-foot-4 Wobbe to battle the 6-foot Cannady.
"We tried to mix things up some, but Ryan was the guy we had on Devin most of the game,'' Bauer said. "We obviously wanted to try and get the ball out of his hands and not let him drive to the basket. I thought we did a good job defensively on him, but he's such a great player that he still got his points.''
"I didn't think what they did was anything different than Devin has faced all season,'' Berger said. "Teams have really gotten in his face and then sagged back in the lane and tried to force someone else to beat them.''
In addition to his late-game heroics, Wieschhaus led the Indians with a game-high 21 points, while junior guard Greenan Sullivan added 13.
"When Wieschhaus first came to the program, he made the freshman team because he played such great defense,'' Bauer said. "But he's really worked hard, just like all these kids have, to get better offensively and help us become a better team.''
The Indians (17-6) will face the winner of the Western-Twin Lakes sectional final game, which was moved to Monday, March 10 because Western was playing in the girls state finals on Saturday.St. Joe will play in the Class 3A Kankakee Valley Regional
A consolation for the Knights was Cannady’s 18 points, which pushed the talented guard over the 1,000 mark for his career. He will enter his senior season with 1,004 points.
CLASS 3A JIMTOWN SECTIONAL
SB ST. JOSEPH 56, MARIAN 49
Marian — Devin Cannady 7--17 4-4 18, Jake Whitfield 1-9 2-4 4, Quron Marks 2-7 0-0 5, Nick Harris 2-3 0-0 4, Will Whitten 3-5 0-0 6, Anthony Blum 2-3 2-3 6, Ryan Shafer 3-5 0-0 6. Totals: 19-49 (.383) 8-11 (.722) 49
St. Joseph— Greenan Sullivan 4-8 2-2 13, Ryan Wobbe 2-7 3-4 7, Mike Monserez 1-4 0-0 2, Keaton Wieschhaus 9-14 3-4 22, Matt Gergely 1-4 7-10 9, Mark Madden 0 0-0 0, Anthony Smiley 1-4 2-2 4 . Totals: 18-41 (.433) 17-21 (.800) 56.
Scoring By Quarters
Marian — 14 12 7 8 4 — 49
St. Joseph— 16 10 8 11 11 — 56
3-point goals: Marian (1-9) — Cannady 1-5; St. Joseph (3-9) — Sullivan 3-6..
Rebounds: Marian (24) — Cannady 8; St. Joseph (27) —Wobbe 8 .
Assists: Marian (7) — Cannady 3; St. Joseph (6) — Sullivan 3..
Turnovers: Marian 7, St. Joseph 13.
Total fouls: Marian 15,. St. Joseph 15. Fouled out — Cannady, Wobbe..
Records: .St. Joseph 17-6, Marian 14-9.
Next: St. Joseph vs Twin Lakes or Western Saturday, March 15, in semifinals of Class 3A Kankakee Valley Regional.