CAMDEN — Preble Shawnee gave head coach Dale Spitler Jr. a nice 33rd birthday present with a hard-fought 61-56 win over a physical Milton-Union team on Friday, Jan. 3.
With the win, Shawnee improved to 5-4 overall and 3-2 in the Southwestern Buckeye League’s Buckeye Division.
The win also marked the fifth straight for the Arrows.
Milton-Union entered the game with just one loss on the season.
“Milton was 7-1 coming into today. They got a win over Madison already. We knew it was going to be a tough game. We knew they were athletic and they were going to be in our face and make it very uncomfortable for us,” Spilter Jr. said.
The two teams played to a 12-12 first quarter and Shawnee took a 26-22 lead into halftime.
The Arrows extended their lead to 46-39 after three and led by as many as eight in the final quarter.
“I thought we did a good job offensively of handling the pressure. It was not easy. We were balanced. We had four guys in double figures,” Spitler Jr. said.
Senior Jake Green, coming off an MVP performance at the Preble Shawnee Holiday Tournament, scored 15 point and had seven rebounds.
Senior Sam Agee had 15 points, four assists and four steals. Junior Bryce Singleton recorded a double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds. He also added three steals.
Senior Gunner Powers came off the bench to add 11 points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists.
After Milton closed to within 54-48, Shawnee made 7-of-8 free throws in the final 1:35 to secure the win.
“We hit some big free throws there at the end to,” Spitler Jr. said. “That’s a good league win. League wins are tough to come by because everybody knows everybody and these are the games that we plan for. Early in the year we had a tough schedule. So, we’ve been tested and we’ve been in close games. It’s not like we lost to nobody’s. We’ve stayed together and things are starting to go our way, which we thought they would if we stayed the course. We’re at a good spot right now.”
Spitler said his team showed poise down the stretch.
“We do have a lot of heart. We’ve got some tough-nosed guys who have been in some tight games. They’re confident in themselves and they play hard and they’ve stepped up and hit some big shots these last few games,” he said. “I hope we can keep it going.”
Shawnee was scheduled to host Franklin on Tuesday, Jan. 7 and will travel to Middletown Madison on Friday for another key league contest.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or follow on Twitter @emowen_RH