CAMDEN — In the second half of a Preble Shawnee (16-3, 9-1 SWBL) and Twin Valley South (1-16) boys/girls varsity doubleheader, the Shawnee boys completed the sweep with a 61-41 win over the Panthers on Saturday, Jan. 30.
Shawnee got off to a hot start, closing the first half out with a 27-16 lead boosted by 22 points from senior Bryce Singleton and freshman Mason Shrout.
“We knew coming in Shawnee would be a tough match-up for us,” South coach Ryan Innis said. “They have had a great year and have been playing really well and with a lot of confidence. On offense, they have one of the better front courts in the area with Shrout and Singleton. Throw in [junior Xavier] Adams, who I believe is a big ‘X’ factor for them and they become very difficult to defend.”
South hung around, making the game as close as 13 points late in the third quarter after a 2-point basket from junior Grant Ulrich and a 3-pointer from senior Tyler Wright, but the Arrows continued to pile on.
Shawnee would go on to score 17 points in the fourth quarter to make it a 61-41 final.
“The scoreboard didn’t reflect the results we wanted. I was proud of our guys’ effort tonight,” Innis said. “Even though the results aren’t there in the win column this season, one thing we can always hang our hat on is our effort and energy. Our guys play with so much effort and energy, it makes me very proud to be their coach.”
Ulrich led the Panthers with 10 points while junior Lucas Sievering and seniors Brayden Marker and Levi Gearhart each added five points.
“They played us 1-3-1 tonight and I thought for the most part we did a good job of moving the ball and not getting stagnant and getting decent looks,” Innis said. “They do a nice job of rotating and using their size and length really well to force us into tough contested shots, in which we did not shoot the ball well enough.”
Innis said the biggest difference came down to offensive rebounding, of which the Arrows had 14.
“We did not do a great job at all of keeping them off the glass, especially early in the first and third quarter which led to way too many second and third chance scoring opportunities,” he said. “You can’t afford to give a team like Shawnee extra scoring opportunities.”
Shawnee’s two made 3-pointers were tied for their fewest in a game this season, with Adams and senior Jake Woodard each knocking one down from beyond the arc.
“Every game is different. This was one of the games where we tried to get up and down a little bit more, up and down in transition,” Shawnee coach Dale Spitler Jr. said. “There weren’t as many set plays for threes. [Twin Valley South] is an athletic team. They really get after it. They guard the perimeter really well. They really played well, so we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We didn’t want to have to depend on threes going into it.”
Shrout led Shawnee with 20 points while Singleton scored 16 and pulled down 13 rebounds for his 13th double-double of the season. Senior Dylan Hatmaker scored eight points while Adams and freshman Logan Hawley each scored seven points. Woodard’s 3-pointer was his only score of the game.
The win is Shawnee’s second straight after losing their 13-game winning streak against Valley View on Tuesday, Jan. 26.
While it was disappointing for the Arrows to see the streak dissipate, Spitler said it gave his team a chance to regroup heading into a pivotal stretch of the season.
“Not that anybody wants to lose, but every now and then you need to see where you’re at. You’ve gotta be tested. The game against Valley View, we played bad. That was ugly. We had a really good stretch going before that. It allowed us to regroup and figure out what we needed to do to stay tough and stay together, be mentally tough and be physical,” Spitler said. “I think it’s a big reason that we were able to get the win last night.”
While Senior Night was celebrated on Friday, Jan. 29 in a 54-53 win over Milton-Union in which Shrout hit the go-ahead shot with 5.5 seconds remaining, Shawnee’s seniors left the court for the last time on Saturday.
For the senior class of Singleton, Woodard and Dylan Hatmaker, Spitler said they’ve been good to Preble Shawnee.
“They’re a really huge part of where we’re at right now. Great teammates, hard workers. They’ve been great role models for our younger group and showing them what our program is about. They do whatever is asked them in,” he said. “All throughout the season we’ve had them do different roles, and some of them get subbed our for younger guys at times. They’ve done a great job being great teammates. We’re really proud of them. We’d like to keep this thing going. Senior night was last night, got a big one [against Milton-Union], but it was nice to send them out in their last home game like this, so really proud of them.”
For Innis, he said the Panthers will look to build some confidence and momentum heading into tournament season.
“I feel really good about these next four games and I know our staff will put these guys in a great position to succeed and compete,” he said.
The Arrows will head on the road this week to face Madison on Tuesday, Feb. 2 and Eaton on Saturday, Feb. 6. South was scheduled to face Mississinawa Valley on Tuesday, Feb. 2, travel to Franklin Monroe on Friday, Feb. 5 and return home to face Carlisle on Saturday, Feb. 6.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles