LEWISBURG — It was an emotional weekend for Tri-County North’s boys’ basketball team as the Panthers knocked off Tri-Village and Preble Shawnee.
And despite a loss, Preble Shawnee remains in the hunt for a league title.
North beat Tri-Village 62-50 on Friday, Jan. 19, as Dillon McCullough played against his former team.
Saturday’s game against Shawnee was a rematch of the final of the Preble Shawnee Holiday Tournament, where North handed the Arrows their first loss of the season in a game marred by four technical fouls. The second matchup was just as intense as the Panthers rallied from an early double-digit deficit for a 50-49 win.
“It’s amazing. I knew it was going to be tough,” North coach Joe Smith said after the Shawnee win. “In my eyes, they’re one of the top D-3 schools in the area. Beating anybody two times in a season is unbelievably hard. I told the guys before the game they wanted revenge for us winning their tournament. It was definitely a roller coaster.”
Shawnee jumped out to an 18-10 lead after the first quarter as Joey Bates knocked down a trio of 3-pointers to give his team the lead.
The Arrows extended the lead to 31-22 by halftime with Bates scoring 14 of his points in the half.
Bates though, battled foul trouble the remainder of the game and finished with a team-high 15 points.
Shawnee had its chances to extend the lead early in the third, but went 1-for-6 from the foul line, which allowed the Panthers to get back into the game at 34-31. For the quarter, Shawnee was 4-for-10 from the line.
North saw Shawnee open the fourth with a 7-3 run to take a 44-34 lead with 6:38 to play and the Arrows still led 47-39 with 4:58 remaining.
North eventually, behind balanced scoring, tied the game at 47-47 with two minutes left and took the lead on a pair of free throws from McCullough. Shawnee answered with a pair of Tyler Worley free throws to regain the lead at 49-48 with 1:50 left.
Dylan Stinson, who finished with 10 points, made his only basket of the fourth quarter, with 1:26 left, to give his team the lead and ultimately the victory.
North had a chance to seal the game late, but missed a free throw and Shawnee’s last possession resulted in turnover as time expired.
McCullough finished with a game-high 17 points. Brian Stinson added 13. For Shawnee, Andrew Monnin had 12 points and Austin Moore had eight.
“That was truly the most exhausting, emotional game I’ve ever coached,” Smith said.
Against T-V, McCullough led all scorers with 25 points. Brian Stinson added 10. Dylan Stinson, Preston Jackson and Josh Heindl all had eight.
For Shawnee, the Arrows beat Carlisle on Friday, 70-50. Moore had 21 points, 10 rebounds, eight steals and six assists. Monnin had 13 points and 13 rebounds. Bates added 12 points and Chase Thompson contributed 11.
“It was a big league win. Obviously, we wanted to win tonight, but our main focus is the league and we still have control over our own destiny,” Shawnee coach Dale Spitler Jr. said. “We’ve got some big league games coming up. We’ll regroup and hopefully be ready to go for Tuesday.”
North (8-4, 2-3 CCC) is scheduled to play at Newton on Friday.
Shawnee (9-3, 5-1 SWBL) was scheduled to play Dixie on Tuesday, Jan. 23. The Arrows will be at Waynesville on Friday and will travel to Twin Valley South on Saturday.