CAMDEN — Dale Spitler Jr. didn’t intend on his team holding the ball for almost five minutes of the fourth quarter, but it played out that way.
And the decision may have backfired, however, as Preble Shawnee failed to take advantage of its fourth quarter opportunities and saw its lead in the Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division disapear with a 36-33 loss to visiting Carlisle on Friday, Jan. 20, in a boys’ basketball game.
“We’ll take it one game at a time. If we keep handling business we’ll at least get a share,” Spitler Jr. said. “We can only control ourselves now. We knew coming into the year that they (Carlisle) were the favorites to win the league.”
The loss was the Arrows’ first in league play and allowed Carlisle to move into a first place tie in the Buckeye Division. Both teams now sport 6-1 records. The title chase is a two-team race with five games remaining. Every other team in the division has at least four losses.
“We thought we had the quickness, so we knew that if we could get the lead on them we could spread it out and they could come out and guard us and we could go around them, which is kind of what happened,” he said. “But we didn’t finish the shots. We got the looks we wanted. I wouldn’t change that.”
Early on it appeared the Arrows were going to get blown out, as Carlisle led by as many as eight in the first quarter and still led by seven (24-17) until Shawnee made two free throws with no time on the clock at the end of the first half.
Shawnee climbed all the way back and took a 28-27 lead with 4:01 left in the third quarter. The lead was the Arrows’ first since the 6:18 mark of the opening quarter, when they led 5-4.
The two teams entered the fourth quarter tied at 30-30 and the game was tied at 32-32 at the 7:08 mark when Spitler Jr. decided to hold the ball.
Shawnee held the ball until there was 4:15 left, but missed a 10-foot jumper.
“It’s a stall until they come out and put too much pressure, then we’ll take a layup,” Spitler Jr. said. “We’ll hold it as long as we can. Under normal circumstances that’s not a bad shot.”
After a Carlisle missed shot, the Arrows held the ball until they were fouled with 2:44. Shawnee made one of two free throws for a 33-32 lead, but Carlisle responded with a basket to take the lead for good at 34-33.
In the final two minutes, Shawnee went 0-for-3 from the field and 0-for-3 from the foul line to prevent it from coming back to win.
For the game, Shawnee was 12-for-40 from the field, inlcuding 3-of-10 from 3-point range and 6-for-18 from the foul line.
“With the kind of numbers we had tonight, it’s hard to win,” Spitler said of his team’s shooting performance.
Levi Lewis led the Arrows with 10 points, Kevin Ketring added nine and Andrew Monnin chipped in with eight.
Shawnee (9-4) was scheduled to play at Franklin on Tuesday, Jan. 24. They will visit Dixie on Friday and host Twin Valley South on Saturday.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.