Arrows topple Versailles to win regional title and earn first state berth


KETTERING — Preble Shawnee’s boys basketball team booked its ticket to the state final four with a convincing 53-32 win over Versailles in the Division III regional finals on Saturday, March 16, at Trent Arena.

The Arrows (24-3) used their trademark defense and their hot-shooting behind the three-point line to advance to the state tournament for the first time in school history, where they will meet No. 2 ranked and defending champion Cleveland Heights Lutheran East (21-5) in the state semifinals on Friday, March 22 at UD Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m.

“It’s an unbelievable great feeling,” Preble Shawnee coach Jake Turner said. “These guys have worked their tails off for three years. There’s been a lot of ups and downs. It hasn’t been easy. We faced adversity to get to this point, they deserve it.”

No. 1 Ottawa-Glandorf (24-3) meets No. 6 Canal Winchester Harvest Prep (23-4) in the first semifinal at 5:15 p.m. on Friday.

The winners will play on Sunday, March 24 at 2 p.m. for the Division III state title.

Shawnee, ranked 10th in the final AP poll, becomes the first Preble County basketball team to reach the state final four since the 1957 Gratis Trojans. Gratis finished as state runner-up, falling to Ayersville in overtime.

The Arrows are just the fifth team in county history to reach state.

In addition to the Gratis team, Eaton made its first trip to state in 1936. The Eagles won a state title in 1948 and finished as state runner-up in 1950.

The Arrows were led by Mr. Basketball finalist senior Mason Shrout with 28 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore Brody Morton tossed in 11 points and had two rebounds and two assists.

Senior Logan Hawley added five points, five blocked shots and grabbed eight rebounds. Junior Brayden Robinette contributed six points, six assists, two steals and two blocked shots.

Senior Case Roell made his second straight start and limited the Tigers’ top offensive threat to just six points. Roell also added four rebounds, three steals and three assists.

The Arrows shot 16-of-35 for the game, including making 9-of-17 shots from three-point range.

Shawnee made six 3-pointers in the first half as they pulled away from an 11-11 game at the end of the first quarter to take a 24-13 halftime lead.

Shawnee took a 39-28 lead into the fourth quarter.

A three from Shrout and a basket by Hawley extended the Arrows lead to 44-28 with just under seven minutes left in the game.

Versailles got within 46-32 with 4:27 left before Shawnee closed out the game on a 7-0 run.

“This is why you play the games; to get to the Final Four,” Turner said. “It’s why you play high school sports. You want to be the best you possibly can be and you want to be playing in that last weekend and we got that opportunity. I’m just trying to let it all soak in and enjoy this right now. I want our guys to go hang out with their family right now and talk to them, take pictures because they deserve this.”

For Shrout he’s thankful for everyone around him and the opportunity to keep playing.

“I got to thank God. Big part of my life, a big part of my game. I thank him every time I come on the court, every time I come off of it. Just blessed with the opportunities he blesses me with. It’s just, it’s amazing,” he said. “It’s a great feeling. We’re definitely going to celebrate this one, then lock in and get ready for the next one. But we’re going to celebrate this a little bit harder than the last. These guys that I play with man, it’s just, I talk about blessings, and each and every one of them are a blessing. Whether they’re on the court, they’re on the bench. They’re keeping stats, they’re cheering us on from the from the stands. It’s just, it’s amazing. Looking back two years ago, when everybody’s trying to get me to transfer I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I don’t know how to describe it other than it’s a blessing, really. I don’t know how to explain it. I’m at loss for words, to bring it a little town like this to its first ever state appearances, it’s a blessing. I mean, I can’t do it without these coaches without these players. My teammates are amazing. It’s awesome.

Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on X @emowenjr.

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