VANDALIA — A furious rally over the final two and half minutes came up short for Preble Shawnee’s boys’ basketball team after a three-point attempt missed wide as the final buzzer sounded, leaving the Arrows on the short end of 51-48 score in the second round of a Division III sectional game.
The Arrows, which finished the season 17-6, trailed Dayton Christian by 10 (44-34) with 2:29 to play before rallying to get within two points (50-48) with nine seconds left in a game played at Vandalia-Butler High School on Thursday, March 1.
“We were able to battle back in it. Our guys never gave up. That’s kind of how this groups been for the past two years. they fight until the very end. We were able to get it to where we had a shot,” Shawnee coach Dale Spitler Jr. said.
Shawnee fouled DC’s leading scorer Matt Welker with 5.9 seconds left. Welker, who finished with a game-high 22 points, made one of two free throws giving the Arrows a chance to tie.
But Shawnee turned the ball over with 1.9 seconds left in front of its own bench and the game appeared to be all but over.
All DC needed to do was get the ball in bounds and the game was over.
However, a clock malfunction while DC was in-bounding the ball caused some confusion for everyone in the gym.
The officials determined that while the ball was in the air it was touched, then the horn sounded, and a Shawnee player caught the ball. All players stopped playing at that point.
After a the officials met, they awarded the ball to Shawnee with 1.4 left on the clock in front of DC’s bench.
The Arrows were able to get the ball up the court in front of its own bench with 0.8 on the clock before calling a time out to set up what they hoped would be a game-tying 3-point shot attempt.
But the shot was off the mark as time expired capping off a strange sequence of events.
Shawnee led 12-10 after the first quarter and was up 18-16 at halftime.
DC opened the third quarter with a 6-0 run for a 22-18 lead and never trailed again.
Senior Joey Bates led the Arrows with 20 points. Senior Tyler Worley added 13 and senior Austin Moore tossed in 11.
The match up of the No. 6 and No. 7 seeds didn’t disappoint.
“I was very proud of the way our guys played. The effort was there. We knew going into it (the tournament) that we had to roll the dice if we wanted to get into a sectional where we had a shot of winning,” Spitler Jr. said. “Part of that rolling the dice means you’ve got a tough first game. Dayton Christian’s a good team and we knew that.”
The loss was the end of the careers for the Arrows five seniors, Bates, Worley, Moore, Chase Thompson and Andrew Monnin.
The five were part of 34 wins and a league championship team over the past two seasons.
“I’m sad to see it end. I’m happy we were able to have two good years together. I’m going to miss these guys,” Spitler Jr. said. “It was a lot of fun.”
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH