ST. MARYS - Derek Renner scored a game-high 18 points and fellow starters K.D. Arnett, Andrew Cosper and Justin Nichols each collected double-doubles Wednesday night as St. Marys punched its ticket to next week's state tournament by eliminating Bishop Donahue, 70-57, in a Class A, Region I contest.
No. 12 Bishop Donahue, which started five seniors and had eight on the roster for coach Tom Wise, led only once and that was at 2-0 when D.T. Meeker scored on a lay-in 7 seconds into the game.
Although another lay-in by Meeker from a Garrett Yurisko assist tied the game at 4, the top-ranked Blue Devils (23-1) took a lead for good at 6-4 on a short bank shot by Arnett via a Derek Bayless feed.
Bishop Donahue, which had 11 first-half turnovers and lost the battle on the boards 56-40 with St. Marys grabbing 27 offensive rebounds, trailed 12-7 after one and was down 30-19 at halftime following an Arnett stuff of Meeker to end the half.
Even though the Blue Devils seemed to be ready to put the game away at any moment in the second half, the Bishops continued to keep within striking distance, but never got closer than nine points after the break.
"We never quite got that spark when we needed it, but let's give St. Marys all the credit in the world," said Wise, whose team was led by Yurisko's 14 points, nine rebounds and five assists. "They have a heck of a basketball team and whenever I thought we had a chance to make a run, Mr. Renner would come down and do a little penetration pull-up and he just does a really excellent job.
"The kids played hard and we did turn it over too much in the first half. We got beat probably the worst we've got beat on the boards all year, I'd guess. You have to give credit to them and I wish them the best down at state."
The Bishops trailed 51-41 with 5:09 remaining after Bryce Jones (13 points) hit the second of his four 3-pointers. However, Bayless answered with a lay-in to start a 10-3 spurt that included three big buckets from Renner as St. Marys kept its double figure cushion.
Arnett tossed in 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds while Nichols finished with a game-high 13 caroms and chipped in 11 points. Cosper scored a dozen and had 10 boards.
A little more than two weeks ago, St. Marys won 93-80 at Bishop Donahue, but neither team shot the ball well Wednesday evening with the Bishops holding a 36.2 to 31.5 edge in field goal shooting percentage.
"The game was physical, but we had to adjust to that," said St. Marys coach Mark Barnhart, who is giving his team today off. "That 57 looks a lot better than the 80 we gave up.
"I thought Bishop did a very nice job of defending our stuff. I thought all-in-all we defended much better than we did at McMechen and defense has to be our staple."
Wylie Koontz added 12 points and seven rebounds for Bishop Donahue, which lost the turnover battle 16-7 and concluded its campaign at 14-10.
"At the end of the year there is only one happy team," coach Wise added. "My guys are disappointed. They played their hearts out and it just wasn't going to happen tonight, but I'm very proud of all of our seniors and what they've meant to our school and our program."