CAMDEN — The Preble Shawnee Arrows boys’ basketball team opened the season with an important Southwestern Buckeye League victory, 58-44, over rival Madison on Friday night.
For head coach Dale Spitler Jr. it was an important evening. Not only did the Arrows (1-0, 1-0 SWBL) secure Spitler’s first win as an Arrow coach, he also got the win alongside assistant, and father, Dale Spitler Sr.
“My dad’s been teaching here for a while, everyone knows him,” Spitler Jr. said. “This is huge for him, huge for me being able to coach with him. It’s really special.”
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“Wins have been special, but when you get a win with your son it’s off the charts,” Spitler Sr. said. “I just can’t explain how much fun this is.”
“The game was very special because Shawnee is also my family,” he added later. “I have worked in this school for 34 years and love this place.”
The duo is excited to continue the season and Sr. believes they have what it takes to compete for the league championship.
“They tell me we’re one of the top teams,” Spitler Sr. said. “This was a big start tonight.”
Shawnee started quickly and never looked back. An early 8-0 run forced Madison to take a timeout with 4:28 remaining in the first quarter.
The fast start was due in large part to senior guard, Kevin Ketring. Ketring started the game on fire. He hit two of his first three shots from deep, energizing the crowd with each splash through the net.
Ketring led the team in scoring on the night with 16 points, 11 of which came in the first quarter. He knocked down four shots from deep in the first half on five attempts. He helped the Arrows take a 12-point advantage into the locker room, 28-16.
“He’s our senior leader,” Spitler Jr. said. “Proved back in the summer that he could big shots and he definitely did in the first half.”
The starting five came up in a big way for the Arrows. They scored all but nine of the Arrows’ 58 points on the evening.
A quartet of juniors rounded the starting five behind Ketring. Levi Lewis finished with eight points and was huge on the glass, finishing with 10 rebounds. Chase Thompson added nine points, highlighted by a first quarter buzzer beater. Austin Moore scored seven points and ultimately put the dagger in the game with clutch late free throws. Joey Bates finished with eight of his own.
The Mohawks attempted to make a late comeback against the Arrows, cutting the lead to only eight points in the fourth quarter after trailing by 15 to start. However, it was too little too late, as the Arrows took the air out of the ball with good ball movement and hit free throws to seal a decisive victory.
“We’re going to keep working against pressure defenses,” Spitler Jr. said. “Late game stuff as the pressure builds. Being able to have good possessions, get good shots, make free throws, make smart decisions; which I thought we did a pretty good job of tonight. But, it’s an area that we can probably always improve in.”
The lone freshman on varsity, Samuel Agee, received his chance to make his debut late in the game. He came through by hitting his first “three” of his high school career.
“He’s going to be a good player,” Spitler Jr. said. “He’s going to get a lot of playing time this year. His time is coming.”
The Arrows were scheduled to travel to play Eaton on Tuesday, Dec. 6.