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Flyers open tournament with win over Miller

Jim Kline was honored at halftime of the St. Joseph-Miller game as a recipient of the Southeast District Athletic Board Friend of Youth Award. Kline, shown with his granddaughter and cheerleader Nicole Dickess, has served for years in the boosters and as the announcer at basketball games. The award goes to persons who have shown dedicated and exemplary commitment to their schools and athletic programs as a scorekeeper, timer, announcer, chain crew, or physician/medical volunteer for at least 20 years. (Photo Courtesy of Cindy Neal)

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

WELLSTON — The St. Joseph Flyers had trouble getting started. But once they got going, they were hard to stop.

The Flyers shook off a sluggish first half and turned in a strong second half as they beat the Miller Falcons 65-56 Tuesday in the Division IV sectional tournament.

“We came out flat and couldn’t do anything right,” said Flyers’ coach Jeremy Williams. “In the second half we picked it up, changed our defense and that helped us out. We started getting some steals.”

Tanner Riley had 20 points, eight rebounds and five steals to lead the Flyers. Payton Blair finished with 17 points and 10 assists while T.J. Young added 10 points.

Eli Lewis led the Flyers with 10 rebounds and four blocked shots. Justin Mahlmeister had five steals.

Miller (1-20) was led by Skylar Hook with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Colten Gill had 15 points and Hunter Starlin 12.

The Flyers were guilty of seven turnovers in the first quarter as Miller took a 15-13 lead. Blair had six points and Riley five to keep the Flyers close.

Riley came back with nine more points in the second quarter as the Flyers tied the game at the half, 29-29.

“I told our guys that Miller was a scrappy bunch and they would come out ready to play,” said Williams.

Young scored seven points and Mahlmeister six as St. Joseph went up 48-43.

The Flyers continued to pull away in the fourth quarter as Blair scored eight points and Riley added four.

The Flyers finished with 17 turnovers but only five in the second half.

St. Joseph (13-7) will now face top-seeded Eastern at 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday in the sectional finals.

Miller 15 14 14 13 = 56

St. Joseph 13 16 19 17 = 65

CORNING MILLER (1-20): Colten Gill 3 3 0-4 15, Michael Nutter 0 0 0-0 0, Chase Glenaman 1 1 2-2 7, Michael Wilson 1 0 0-0 2, Dakota Bond 1 0 2-4 4, Hunter Starlin 3 2 0-0 12, Skylar Hook 7 0 2-2 16. Totals: 22-61 6-12 56. Fouls: 20. Fouled out: Hook. 3-point goals: 6-26. Rebounds: 32 (Hook 12). Assists: 10. Steals: 12 (Glenaman 6). Turnovers: 19.

IRONTON SAINT JOSEPH (13-7): Payton Blair 4 2 3-6 17, Eli Lewis 3 0 2-5 8, Tanner Riley 5 2 4-6 20, Justin Mahlmeister 4 0 0-2 8, T.J. Young 3 1 3-4 12, Cody Blackburn 0 0 0-0 0, Zack Dalton 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 24-45 10-23 65. Fouls: 9. Fouled out: None. 3-point goals: 5-11. Rebounds: 28 (Lewis 10, Riley 8). Assists: 14 (Blair 10). Steals: 14 (Riley 5, Mahlmeister 5). Turnovers: 17. Blocked shots: Lewis 4.