John Glenn Outworks Dover, Advances To Regional Final

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Eight lead changes, nine ties and margin of no more than six points between John Glenn and Dover contributed to a nail-biting, scrappy division II regional final matchup.

The game was not out of reach for either team until the final minute of play, but John Glenn’s (22-3) physicality near the hoop wore down Dover (20-5) defenders, sending them to a 53-45 win.

“In this game, the toughest team was going to win,” John Glenn head coach Greg Woodward said.

Toughness and swarming man-to-man defense made for an unproductive first quarter for both offenses. Guards on both teams struggled to create open looks along the perimeter while life in the paint yielded little space in which to move. The scoreboard read 9-9 after the first eight minutes of play.

The second quarter saw a resuscitation of the Dover offense, primarily with Cory Montini and Austin Laughlin. Montini’s 3-pointer from the top of the key set the tone for the second quarter that yielded sharp ball movement from the Tornadoes. John Glenn stuck to attacking the basket, via Drew Rackley and Matt Shirer, but turnovers and mental errors allowed Dover to take a 24-18 lead into the locker room.

In a teeter-totter affair at the Convocation Center, the second half swung in favor of the Muskies.

John Glenn’s offense began to create open looks through baseline drives and off-ball screens. Rackley and Shirer began to assert their dominance, wearing out Dover defenders and creating second-chance looks. With fatigue, the fouls began to rack up for the Tornadoes, but efficient free-throw shooting – 13 of 15 on the night – kept the margin at four going into the final stanza.

The final quarter would prove to be the highest scoring quarter with a combined 36 points added to the scoreboard. Both squads took advantage of the other’s mistakes, creating transition opportunities and keeping the margin slim.

The breaking point for Dover came on a John Glenn fast break with just under two minutes to play. Parker Evans went up for a lay-up, but was met by a group of John Glenn defenders. Evans lowered his shoulder into the crowd and appeared to be holding onto the ball for dear life as the whistle blew.

One referee called for a jump ball, which would have given the ball back to Dover, but another official overturned the call, sending Evans to the charity stripe, much to the dismay of the Dover faithful. Evans sank both free throws, putting the Muskies up 48-43 with 1:45 to play and sealing the victory.

With the win, the Huskies tie the school record for most wins in a season. With a physical Bishop Watterson squad awaiting them in the regional finals on Saturday, Woodward said he is eager to break the record.