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Flyers fall to Eagles in Div. IV district

St. Joseph Flyers’ senior Zack McGraw (22) makes a driving layup against Beaver Eastern during Tuesday’s Division IV district semifinal game at Ohio University. McGraw had 10 points but the Flyers fell to the Eagles 59-32. (Tim Gearhart of Tim’s News & Novelties, Park Ave. in Ironton)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

ATHENS — “Nowhere man, don’t worry. Take your time, don’t hurry.”
With apologies to John Lennon and The Beatles, take the words “Nowhere man” and insert St. Joseph Flyers.
The Flyers were making their first appearance in the district tournament since 2014 while their opponent the Beaver Eastern Eagles were making a third straight district trip.
The Flyers inexperienced showed with three unforced turnovers to start the game and numerous open shots as they fell to the Eagles 59-32 in the Division IV district semifinals at the Ohio University Convocation Center on Tuesday.
“We had good shots and good looks but we rushed ourselves. We missed some around the basket. You can’t do that on this stage,” said Flyers’ coach Rex Cooksey.
“We told the kids at halftime to slow down and not get in a hurry. But that goes back to experience. We knew Eastern was a physical team. They’ve been here the last three years and this is the first time for most of our kids.”
The Flyers were 13-of-41 from the field for the game or 31.7 percent. Eastern made 25-of-59 shots for 42.4 percent.
Eastern scored the first six points of the game before Zack McGraw scored at the 5:28 mark to break the ice. His two foul shots to end the quarter had the Flyers down 11-6.
Chase Walters grabbed a rebound and went coast-to-coast for a layup
and St. Joseph was down 11-8 to start the second quarter.
A trifecta by Peyton Adkins had the Flyers down 15-11 with 5:04 left in the half.
Stymied inside by the Flyer’s defense inside, the Eagles began to heat up on
the outside as Ethan Leist hit a 3-pointer for a 20-11 lead.
Clay Martin hit a pair of 3-pointers including one with two seconds left in the half as Eastern opened up a 30-17 lead at the break.
Michael Miller and McGraw traded baskets to begin the second half, but
then the Eagles went on a 9-0 run to lead 41-19 at the 4:47 mark.
McGraw’s layup 30 seconds later ended the run but the Flyers cold
shooting was too much to overcome.
It went from 13 to 20, 22 real quick,” said Cooksey. “I thought we battled. They had a little run before halftime and we got down 13. I told the kids to go out there and battle. (Eastern) started hitting some perimeter shots and we couldn’t get anything to fall.”
St. Joseph was just 7-of-22 from the field in the second half.

Cooksey said depth was a key factor as Eastern used a nine-man rotation while the Flyers were limited to six players.
“Technically we were playing five people with Tre (Neal) having that bad shoulder. It’s hard. You can’t call timeout every time down the floor to rest,” said Cooksey. “I was proud of the kids. They never quit one time the whole year.
“That’s the next step we have to take. The underclassmen we have coming back plus the freshmen coming up have to make a commitment to the weight room and get stronger because that’s the type of physicality you’re going to face in these tournaments.”
Walters had 14 points and five rebounds and McGraw 10 points and six rebounds to lead the Flyers who finished 12-13.
Ethan Leist led Eastern (19-5) with 19 points and seven rebounds. Martin had 11 points and Hale nine points and eight rebounds.
Cooksey praised his senior quartet of McGraw, Neal, Joey Bush, Isaac Walker and Peyton Adkins.
“The seniors were very supportive of me from day one and believed in what I was teaching. All five of them are great kids. And they did something that can’t be taken away. They won a sectional and got up here. So now they’ve set the standard for the next classes after them to shoot for,” said Cooksey.
Eastern will play Waterford at 2 p.m. on Saturday in the district finals. Waterford beat Leesburg Fairfield 63-52 in the first game.
St. Joseph    6    11    6    9    =    32
Eastern    11    19    18    11    =    59
ST. JOSEPH (12-13): Isaac Whaley 0 1 0-0 3, Clay Willis 0 0 0-0 0, Peyton Adkins 1 1 0-0 5, Zack McGraw 4 0 2-2 10, Chase Walters 6 0 2-3 14, Tre Neal 0 0 0-0 0, Isaac Walker 0 0 0-0 0, Joey Bush 0 0 0-0 0, Andrew Lawson 0 0 0-0 0, Bryson Canter 0 0 0-0 0, Chase Wilds 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-41 4-5 32. 3-point goals: 2-10. Rebounds: 8-O, 16-D = 24 (McGraw 6, Walters 5, Willis 4). Team/deadball rebounds: 1. Assists: 5 (Whaley 2). Steals: 1 (Whaley). Turnovers: 15. Blocked shots: 1 (McGraw). Fouls: 7. Fouled out: None.
BEAVER EASTERN (19-5): Evan Leist 4 0 1-2 9, Tyler Hale 4 0 1-2 9, Ethan Leist 8 1 0-0 19, Clay Martin 1 3 0-1 11, Michael Miller 1 0 3-4 5, Quention Alley 1 0 0-0 2, Cody Weaver 1 0 0-0 2, Noah Gray 1 0 0-0 2, Bryce Hoover 0 0 0-0 0, Drake Myers 0 0 0-0 0, Parker Clemmons 0 0 0-0 0, Billy Crabtree 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-O, 22-D = 38 (Hale 8, Et. Leist 7, Miller 6). Team/deadball rebounds: 4. Assists: 5 (Ev. Leist 2). Steals: 10 (Martin 3, Et. Leist 2, Ev. Leist 2). Turnovers: 9. Fouls: 8. Fouled out: None.