CLAYTON — Just reaching the district semifinal was something Preble Shawnee boys basketball coach Dale Spitler Jr. was happy his team could accomplish.
With very little varsity experience returning, the Arrows pulled off a pair of upsets in the Northmont Division III sectional sectional, which included winning a sectional title.
The run ended on Saturday, March 2 with a 75-32 loss to No. 1 seed Anna at Northmont High School.
“It means a lot to us,” he said. “One tournament win was our goal and the way we have been playing we were able to squeak out a second one. We’re staying alive and peaking at the right time.”
Shawnee, the No. 13 seed, upset No. 10 West Liberty-Salem 59-44 on Saturday, Feb. 23 then knocked off No. 11 Bethel 48-46 on Thursday, Feb. 28.
Against Anna, the Arrows trailed 30-19 at the half. Bryce Singleton led the way scoring nine of his 12 in the first half.
The third quarter proved disastrous for Shawnee.
The Rockets outscored the Arrows 23-3 to take a 53-22 lead. In the fourth, Shawnee managed just 10 point and was outscored by 11 for the final margin.
Luke Woodard added seven and JJ Hatmaker chipped in with five and added eight rebounds.
Sam Agee was held to two points and grabbed six rebounds and added three assists.
“I’m really proud of our guys,” Spitler Jr. said.
Against WL-S, Shawnee grabbed control from the outset taking a 12-7 lead after one and was up 31-13 at the half.
Singleton led the way with 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocks.
Woodard added 12. Leeth had seven. Cole Haney contributed six point and seven rebounds, while Agee and Anthony Monebrake and Jake Green each scored six.
Against Bethel, the Arrows overcame a pair of nine-point deficits for a 48-46 win.
They trailed 23-20 at the half and 39-33 after three before outscored the Bees 15-7 in the final eight minutes.
Agee led the way with 18 points and four rebounds.
Singleton tossed in 14 to go along with seven rebounds.
Geisen had eight rebounds and blocked six shots.
Hatmaker contributed seven points, all in the fourth quarter, and had nine rebounds.
Shawnee finished the season 11-14.
They will lose seniors Leeth, Haney, Geisen and Hatmaker to graduation.
“We had no starters back this year and expectations were kind of low that we weren’t going to be able to do much,” Spitler said. “That was kind of motivation for them. We just wanted one tournament win. Anything more than that was a bonus.”
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH