CAMDEN — Preble Shawnee’s bid for a 10th league title in school history vanished amid a shaky shooting performance behind the three-point arc and at the free throw line on Friday (Feb. 9)
Playing in front of a sold-out crowd, the Arrows succumbed to visiting Madison, 50-45, as the Mohawks outscored Shawnee 14-9 over the final 4:40 of the game to claim its first league title since 2009-10.
Shawnee, which entered the contest a game back of the Mohawks, was looking for its second straight SWBL Buckeye Division championship and needed a win to do so.
“Kind of like the first time we met. We had a cold shooting night. Our defense was there. We played hard and we rebounded well,” Shawnee coach Dale Spitler Jr. said. “We had some opportunities. We missed some free throws. We had a lot of good looks on threes. We hit two or three more of those and we hit a couple of free throws, its a completely different story.”
Shawnee was just 9-of-17 from the free throw line and only 4-of-21 from 3-point range, including going 1-for-11 in the second half.
Madison didn’t shoot all that well, either, making just 27 percent of its shots. But the Mohawks made 17-of-20 free throws.
The game featured 10 lead changes and was tied five times.
After the Arrows opened the scoring on a basket from Austin Moore, Madison went on an 8-0 run during a two minute stretch for an 8-2 lead. Shawnee closed to within 12-11 by the end of the first quarter behind six points from Joey Bates (13 points and four rebounds) and five from Moore, who led the Arrows with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Madison opened the second quarter with back-to-back 3-pointers to take its biggest lead of the game at 18-11 with 6:54 to play.
Shawnee regained the lead at 25-23 with 1:18 to play on a basket from Bates.
In the third, neither team led by more than two points and the Mohawks led 33-32 after three.
Shawnee held a 36-34 lead with 5:26 to play before Madison went on a 6-0 run to take the lead for good at 40-36. Shawnee closed the gap to 44-42 on a 3-pointer from Samual Agee with just under a minute to play, but the Mohawks answered with three of their own with 38 seconds left, which all but sealed the win and league title.
“Give credit to Madison. They’re a tough team,” Spitler Jr. said. “They’re well coached and they’ve got some good big guys. They hit enough shots and made enough plays to win.”
Despite the loss Spitler Jr. said he liked being in the position to play for a league title.
“It’s all we can ask for is to be in this position,” he said. “We were happy with our season so far. All you can ask for is to play for a league championship and to play in front of all these people. Unfortunately, we didn’t get it done but it was nice to have this opportunity.”
Shawnee wrapped up the week with 66-47 win over Arcanum on Saturday. Moore had 18 points, five rebounds and five assists. Chase Thompson had 13 points and nine rebounds. Tyler Worley added 11 points and Bates contributed 10 points.
The Arrows (14-5, 8-3 SWBL) was scheduled to host Monroe on Monday, Feb. 12 and Bellbrook on Tuesday, Feb. 13, before closing out the regular season with a home game against Milton-Union on Friday, Feb. 16.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH