Boys Basketball: Big second half propels Elida past St. Marys

Feb. 9—ELIDA — It has been a work in progress for Elida boys basketball coach Matt Tabler. After 14 successful seasons at Perry, Tabler took over the Elida program in 2021.

In his first two seasons at Elida, Tabler posted an overall record of 12-35. Elida recorded three wins during the 2021-22 campaign, and nine victories last season.

This season, Tabler's Elida program has reached new heights.

In Friday's key Western Buckeye League matchup against visiting St. Marys, Elida came roaring back from an eight-point halftime deficit and out-scored the Roughriders 34-17 in the second half, en route to a 58-49 victory over St. Marys at the Elida Fieldhouse.

With the win, Elida improved to 13-5 overall and 5-2 in the WBL. St. Marys slipped to 12-6 in all games played and 4-3 in league action.

Tabler said it's been a matter of the athletes buying into the process.

"First off, all the credit goes to the guys. Some of these guys have been here since day one, and they've had to go through some growing pains," Tabler said. "The system that we play is not easy. A lot of them could've just left, but they stuck it out. So, I'm proud of them."

A'Mari Wash led Elida on Friday with 17 points on 6 of 10 shooting from the field and 5 of 6 shooting from the free-throw line. Wash also came away with eight rebounds from his guard spot.

David Etzkorn scored 16 points, 12 of those points coming in the second half. Etzkorn also pulled down eight boards. Zori Island added 10 points, including 4 of 5 shooting from the free-throw line for the Bulldogs.

Evan Angstmann and Cobain Owens led St. Marys with 13 points each. Angstmann and Owens each connected three times from behind the 3-point line. Jace Turner had nine points and five boards for the Roughriders.

Angstmann, a 6-foot-7 senior forward was held scoreless in the second half, after he scored 13 points in the first half.

"I felt like David Etzkorn played a tremendous game — stepping up as a senior for us," Tabler said. "And Jackson (Covault, seven points) drew the tough (defensive) assignment with Angstmann, and he guarded him well. Then, Parker Crim (2 points, 10 rebounds) inside, was just a monster. ... I felt like he (Crim) played Jace Turner (6-foot-7 post player) very well, and he rebounded the basketball. Those three stood out, but it was a whole team effort tonight."

The lead changed hands twice in the opening quarter before the score was knotted 12-12 at the first stop.

Both teams shot well in the second quarter. However, St. Marys pulled out to a 32-24 advantage by the halftime break.

In the second half, Elida's defensive pressure helped pave the way for several fast-break baskets for the Bulldogs.

Right at the buzzer to end the third quarter, Etzkorn hit a field goal to give the Bulldogs a 40-39 lead.

"I felt like our defense improved so much in the second half," Tabler said. "But I think we could attribute that to our offense. We kept saying, 'They only play six players. Keep pushing the ball and make them run'.

"A lot of our runouts would start out one-on-three. Then all of a sudden, it was one-on-one or one-on-none, because we were just going right by them (St. Marys players). They were tired. I felt like their shots were coming up short. I think our pressure and our full-court style of play wore on them."

Added Etzkorn, "We kind of talked about that — just keep it close until the fourth quarter. Then in the fourth quarter, we can take over and finish the game out."

Etzkorn will be playing football next school year at the University of Findlay.

Elida shot 52 percent from the field, while St. Marys connected on 41 percent of its field-goal attempts on the night.

Elida turned the ball over 14 times, while St. Marys committed 10 turnovers.

The Bulldogs' free-throw shooting made the difference. For the game, Elida was 11 of 14 from the free-throw line for 78.6 percent shooting. St. Marys was just 1 of 2 from the charity stripe.

Despite the size disadvantage for Elida, the Bulldogs dominated the boards, 33-15.

Zori Island, a junior guard for Elida, said Friday's win was huge for the program.

"It was big. All of us were preaching that this was a win that we had to get. Like, 'We got to get this win. It's a win for the tournament seeding, and we want to win more games in the WBL this year'," Island said.

Elida 58, St. Marys 49

Score by Quarters

St. Marys 12 20 7 10 — 49

Elida 12 12 16 18 — 58


Noah Payne 8, Cobain Owens 13, Alex Hoenie 3, Jace Turner 9, Evan Angstmann 13, Brennan Steger 3. Totals: 19-1-49.


Zori Island 10, Seth Sharp 2, A'Mari Wash 17, Jackson Covault 7, David Etzkorn 16, Parker Crim 2, Eben Jackson 4. Totals: 23-11-58.

3-pointers made: St. Marys — Noah Payne 2, Cobain Owens 3, Jace Turner 1, Brennan Steger 1, Evan Angstmann 3; Elida — Jackson Covault 1

Records: St. Marys 12-6, 4-3 WBL; Elida 13-5, 5-2 WBL