DAYTON — In Preble Shawnee’s final year as a member of the Southwestern Buckeye League, the Arrows are going out with a bang.
With Shawnee’s 57-47 win over Northridge on Friday, Feb. 12, the Arrows won the SWBL Buckeye Division Championship, the school’s first since the 2016-17 season and the first sole title since the 2010-11 season.
“My first reaction was a lot of joy for our seniors,” Preble Shawnee coach Dale Spitler Jr. said. “They worked so hard for that moment and to know that it’s something they can look back on and remember for the rest of their lives is very special.
Preble Shawnee held a comfortable 30-21 lead at the half, and while the Polar Bears pushed in the third quarter to make it 42-37, the Arrows outscored Northridge 15-10 in the fourth for the 57-47 win.
Freshman Mason Shrout led the Arrows with 21 points, followed closely by senior Bryce Singleton with 18 points and a team-high 15 rebounds for his 15th double-double of the season.
Sophomore Cooper Roell scored eight points and picked up three steals while junior Xavier Adams added six points and seven rebounds. Senior Jake Woodard and sophomore Dylan Campbell each added two points.
Spitler said the Arrows had a net-cutting ceremony where they thanked the players, families, cheerleaders, school and the community for their support.
“It took a lot of people to make this possible, especially during a difficult season like this one was,” he said.
Northridge was Preble Shawnee’s first win of the season back on Friday, Dec. 4, in which the Arrows had to come back from a 15-point deficit for the 72-69 win.
Since that game, Singleton has continued his impressive senior season while Shrout has wowed, leading the SWBL at 22.7 points per game and breaking some Preble Shawnee records along the way.
As a team, the Arrows finish the regular season with a 19-3 record, including an 11-1 record in the SWBL.
Spitler said from the beginning of the season to now, Preble Shawnee is a completely different team.
“Like a lot of others around we got off to a slow start due to multiple quarantines, canceled scrimmages and line up changes that were out of our control,” he said. “But through all this we stuck together, worked as hard as we could and focused on controlling what we could control.”
He added that the team took things one game at a time.
“It was a total team effort with different players stepping up and filling in,” he said. “This is one of the most determined teams we’ve ever coached and they never got distracted along the way.
“I want to give a special thanks to our seniors Bryce Singleton, Dylan Hatmaker and Jake Woodard for incredible leadership during the season,” he added. “They made sure everybody stayed focused on doing what was best for the team and led by example.”
After the 2020-21 sports season is complete, Preble Shawnee will become a member of the Western Ohio Athletic Conference alongside Dixie from the SWBL and Ansonia, Arcanum, Bradford, Franklin Monroe, Mississinawa Valley, National Trail, Newton, Tri-County North, Tri-Village and Twin Valley South from the disbanding Cross County Conference.
Preble Shawnee’s history with the SWBL dates back to the 1984-85 season where the Arrows won the SWBL in their first year in the league. Now, as they prepare for the WOAC, they’ll bring a championship pedigree with them.
“We are certainly going to miss the SWBL, the rivalries we have developed and the big games we have played in it, but look forward to the new league starting and hope we can be competitive from the start,” Spitler said.
After earning a first-round bye in the Division III Sectional Tournament, Preble Shawnee will be back in action next week against Covington on Thursday, Feb. 25 at Northmont High School. Tip is set for 7:30 p.m.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles