ELIDA – On the cusp of this basketball season, Shawnee has won the last three classics from Mercy Health Tipoff.
On Friday, the first night of this year’s Mercy Health Tipoff Classic, Shawnee got off to a good start in pursuit of another title.
Shawnee jumped early on Bath and escaped for a 64-45 win at Elida Fieldhouse.
With the win, Shawnee (1-0) will face Lima Central Catholic (1-0) tonight in the Championship game with a kick-off scheduled for around 7:30 am.
In Friday’s last drink, LCC held off Elida 75-65.
The consolation match between Elida (0-1) and Bath (0-1) will start at 6pm.
Other than a 3-0 deficit at the start, Shawnee led all the way on Friday night.
Austin Miller led Shawnee with 19 points and nine rebounds. Point guard Brady Wheeler had 18 points, distributed five assists and made two interceptions for the Indians.
Jonah Wauben, a 6-foot-5 senior post player, led Bath and all scorers with 20 points, including three at 3 points. Wauben also slashed a game-high 10 rebounds. His teammate Britton Hall added eight points, including two at 3 points.
“What I was proud of was that we played with a huge defensive effort,” said Shawnees head coach Mark Triplett. “I think when you play hard, consistently, then you can make up for a bad night of shooting, a bad night of free shots and being passed 8-2 on offense.
“As a rule of thumb when you go 3 for 14 (shooting) three, 9 for 16 at the free throw line, and you’re passed on offense 8-2 – it’s a bad night. But I thought we were frustrating them with our pressure. It’s one thing that wins a lot of basketball games.
Last season Shawnee reached the Division II semifinals before losing to Akron St. Vincent-St. Married.
However, this year’s Shawnee roster is a little different, with four newbies graduating. In all, there are seven players from last year’s squad who are missing.
Friday night against Bath, Shawnee came out in a sticky man-to-man defense, which helped lead to 13 Bath turnovers on the night.
Bath took a 3-0 lead over a 3-point Andrew Stahr (five points, four rebounds). However, that lead was short-lived for the Wildcats. It was also the only time Bath led in the game.
After Bath’s lead, Shawnee then went on an 8-0 streak to take the 8-3 advantage, midway through the first quarter. The Indians led 16-7 at the first stop.
Bath was just 3 of 12 shots from the ground in the first eight minutes.
Shawnee stepped up a gear in the second quarter, beating Bath 13-7. The Indians entered the half-time break with a comfortable 29-14 lead.
Miller led Shawnee and all scorers with nine points in the first half, as well as five rebounds.
Bath shot a dismal 24 percent from the field in the first half (5 of 21). Shawnee was successful 46% of his field goal attempts (11 of 24).
For the game, Shawnee shot 50 percent from the field. Bath ended the evening pulling 33% off the ground.
In the third quarter, Wauben kept the Wildcats in the game, scoring 11 points on 4 of 4 shots on the ground.
The Indians were leading 49-30 at the end of the third quarter.
Triplett highlighted three guys on this year’s roster who will be the main cogs of his squad.
“These are two guys (Miller and Wheeler) who obviously played a huge role in our team last year. We’re really going to need leadership from Brady (Wheeler). Austin Miller – we found out how dynamic he can be. I think he will continue to grow as a basketball player. He just returned a few weeks ago from a great football season. Then Toby Freiberger (six points, four rebounds, two steals). … He’s just a stable child. You can really trust him to do his job and compete at a high level, ”said Triplett.
Lima Catholic Central 75,
LCC had four players marked in double digits, en route to a relentless victory over Elida in Friday’s second game.
Evan Unruh and Seth Mikesell each scored 19 points for LCC. Keiron Bailey scored 13 points, while Billy Bourk added 11 for the T-Birds.
Tori Thomas led Elida with 18 points, while teammates Jackson Covault and Austin Miller added 16 and 11 points respectively.
After losing 38-27 at halftime, Elida fought back and reduced the deficit to 5, four times down the home stretch.
“Our guys played extremely hard,” said longtime LCC head coach Frank Kill. “Guys like Keiron Bailey, who pushed his way off the bench to play a lot of minutes in this game. … He was the last guy on the bench last year; and he hit
probably the biggest shots we needed tonight. It was nice to see. Our three seniors have also really improved.
Shawnee’s Austin Miller hits Bath’s Ian Armentrout at Friday’s Mercy Health Tipoff Classic at Elida Fieldhouse.
Andrew Stahr of Bath takes off to keep the ball in play against Shawnee at Friday night’s Mercy Health Tipoff Classic at Elida Fieldhouse.
DeMarr Foster of Lima Central Catholic tries a shot against Elida during Friday night’s Mercy Health Tipoff Classic at Elida Fieldhouse.
Contact the Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.