Saturday, March 24, 2001

Ohio Division IV semifinals

Football power advances to final

AP Sports Writer

        COLUMBUS, Ohio — Delphos St. John's, charged with living up to the illustrious precedent set by its football team, proved it was up to the task with a 64-44 victory over Strasburg-Franklin in a Division IV state semifinal Friday night.

        St. John's advances to today's final against Tipp City Bethel, a 65-42 winner over Reedsville Eastern.

        Other championship games pit Kettering Alter against defending champion Warrensville Heights in Division II and top-ranked defending champion Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary against Casstown Miami East in Division III.

        St. John's (22-4) has several players from the school's football powerhouses that won a state-record 57 consecutive games and won three consecutive playoff titles, losing to the eventual state champion last year, Maria Stein Marion Local.

        Asked if those experiences helped the Blue Jays on the court, two-sport star Joe Kapcar said, “Yeah, probably. The pressure is high with football and that stupid streak. This is nothing compared to that streak.”

        Sophomore Brian Clark came off the bench to score 19 points in St. John's victory over Strasburg-Franklin.

        Strasburg-Franklin (22-5), making its fifth appearance at the state tournament with a title in its last trip in 1967, scored five of the first six points. But heavy foul trouble took the Tigers out of it.

        The Blue Jays regrouped to score the next seven points and 11 of the next 13 and never trailed again.

        In the other small-school game, a Reedsville Eastern dry spell was the difference.

        Bethel's Bees (22-4) held Eastern scoreless for 18 possessions, during which the Eagles missed 16 consecutive shots, had six turnovers and were outscored 26-0.

        The drought spanning 10:46 turned Bethel's 24-22 lead into a 48-24 deficit.

        “When we lost the lead, we lost our composure,” Eastern coach Howie Caldwell said.

        Matt Plunkett, a second-team Associated Press All-Ohio selection, had 24 points, three assists and seven rebounds while Matt Witt, picked for the first team, had 18 points, four assists and eight rebounds.

        Garrett Karr scored 14 points for Eastern (22-4), which had won 19 games in a row after a 3-3 start.

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