CAMDEN — With wins this past week over Waynesville and Tri-County North, the Preble Shawnee boys basketball team (12-2, 6-1 SWBL) has extended their win streak to 11 straight victories and now hold first place in the SWBL Buckeye Division as of Monday, Jan. 18.
Their week began with an 81-64 win over Waynesville who, entering the game, led the SWBL Buckeye Division with a 6-0 record in conference play.
The Arrows were looking to avenge a 70-64 loss on Dec. 8, 2020, in which Waynesville scored 25 points in the fourth quarter to come back and win.
“Coming into this game, we’ve been looking forward to this rematch,” Shawnee coach Dale Spitler Jr. said. “We played them early in the season. We had a nice lead basically the whole game and we weren’t able to pull it out. This is kind of one that we’ve been waiting [on] for a while.”
Shawnee fell behind early 25-18, but a 3-pointer from senior Bryce Singleton, who recently surpassed 1,000 points for the Arrows, made it a four-point game entering the second quarter.
“He’s been a hard worker from day one. He’s the most intense player we’ve had. He brings it every day in practice. He brings it every game. He’s never taken a play off. He’s earned every bit of 1,000 points and 500 rebounds,” Spitler said. “Really proud of him and what he’s been able to do for us. He’s been a great player to coach and has been a lot of fun. Great teammate.”
Singleton hit another 3-pointer as the quarter began, and freshman Mason Shrout then took over for the Arrows, scoring 10 of Shawnee’s next 20 points as they took a 44-35 halftime lead.
Shrout kept his foot on the gas in the third quarter, scoring Shawnee’s first 10 points out of the locker room as the Arrows extended the lead to 62-48 in the third.
“It’s the best [performance] that I’ve seen from freshmen in this area recently. To be honest, I haven’t seen very many senior performances like that. He’s very special. He’s very talented. He’s worked very hard to get where he is. He’s earned every bit of it,” Spitler said. “People don’t see the time that he puts in at this gym and when he’s traveling all over the place, playing ball and doing all the drills his dad’s having him doing. It’s really paid off.”
Five quick points in the fourth quarter from junior Xavier Adams and a technical foul by Waynesville on Shawnee sophomore Dylan Campbell led to a 70-55 lead for the Arrows.
The Spartans would later be forced to foul, sending Preble Shawnee to the free-throw line to close things out 81-64 for their tenth straight win.
Shrout led the Arrows with a career-high 33 points while adding seven rebounds and three assists on 14-of-18 shooting.
Singleton turned in a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds while Adams added 12 points and four rebounds. Senior Dylan Hatmaker scored 11 points as Campbell scored seven and senior Jake Woodard scored four.
“Bryce turned in a big double-double tonight, but we didn’t have some of these other guys contributing like Dylan and Xavier [last time against Waynesville]. Once they started doing what they’re doing, you know, contributing and getting double figures any night, that really opened it up for everybody else,” Spitler said. “We needed those third and fourth options that are major contributors, and once we started getting that, then we started going on nice win streak.”
The following night, Preble Shawnee defeated Tri-County North 65-50 as Singleton notched a double-double with 21 points and 21 rebounds, his tenth double-double of the season.
According to data from MaxPreps, Shawnee’s 11-game streak is the longest winning streak since the Arrows won 15 straight games between Dec. 29, 2010 and Feb. 22, 2011.
“We just take it one day at a time with the virus stuff like it is right now,” Spitler said of Shawnee’s winning streak. “It’s just doesn’t do any good to look ahead. So, we just try to do one day at a time, maybe few days at a time. But other than that, we just try to focus on what we can do now to get better.”
Preble Shawnee was scheduled to play at Dixie on Tuesday, Jan. 19 and will return home to play Carlisle on Friday, Jan. 22.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles