ELIDA – Opposing teams draw up creative defensive schemes that are designed to stop, or at least to slow down Elida standout Dakota Mathias.
Unfortunately for the opposition, the Purdue-bound Mathias always seems to find ways to hurt opposing teams.
In Friday’s 85-61 victory for Elida over visiting Shawnee in boys Western Buckeye League basketball action, the 6-foot, 5-inch Mathias got the job done in a few different ways.
Mathias led all scorers with 30 points had had 11 rebounds, five assists and four steals.
However, Mathias had plenty of help against Shawnee.
Austin Allemeier shot 8-for-11 from the floor, including 4-of-5 on 3-pointers to end the night with 20 points. Allemeier also dished out four assists. Louis Gray and Clark Etzler each added eight points for the Bulldogs (12-3, 4-1 WBL).
“They (Shawnee) come out in a box-and-one; and a good way to shut that down is for the other guys to make shots,” Mathias said. “And that’s what they did tonight.”
Trey Brock led Shawnee (5-10, 2-3) with 15 points. Thad Vernon scored 11, while JaQuan Tucker and Jaden O’Neal each added nine points for the Indians.
Elida jumped out quickly on Shawnee and never looked back.
The Bulldogs led 19-12 after one quarter.
In the second quarter, Elida mounted an 8-0 run to start the quarter and eventually extended its lead to 47-20 by the break. Mathias scored 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the second frame.
Mathias scored 19 points in the first half on 6-of-10 shooting, while Allemeier was on fire, hitting 5-of-6 from the floor for 13 first-half points. The Bulldogs shot 58 percent from the field in the first 16 minutes of action.
Shawnee struggled in the first half, connecting on just 29 percent from the floor.
Mathias began to take things over in the second quarter.
“They were hanging around a little bit, and I found some gaps in the zone,” Mathias said. “Credit my teammates. They moved the ball around well and found me in spots where I was open.”
In the second half, Elida’s largest lead was 32 points. At the end of the third quarter, Elida led 67-39. In the final stanza, when Elida began to substitute its starters, Shawnee outscored Elida 22-18.
Shawnee’s shooting improved in the second half. The Indians ended the game shooting 43 percent from the floor. Elida shot 57 percent from the field.
Elida coach Denny Thompson is pleased at the way his team is getting contributions from several players.
“Austin (Allemeier) had a nice game. He had to play some positions where he’s not really comfortable at right now,” Thompson said. “But, I thought he did a pretty good job with that. Marquevious (Wilson, six points and three rebounds) hasn’t been the healthiest here, lately. And that was the most minutes he’s played for about three games. So, it was good to see him get back into the flow of things. Clark Etzler is another guy; his minutes are starting to become quality minutes, and we really need that from him. It really helps us with our depth.”
Elida won the battle on the boards, 34-26. The Bulldogs pulled down 13 offensive caroms, compared to Shawnee’s nine.
Both teams took pretty good care of the basketball. Shawnee committed 12 turnovers, while Elida turned it over just seven times.
First-year Shawnee coach Mark Triplett knew it would be a huge challenge to slow down Mathias.
“We were trying to contain him,” Triplett said. “We know we can’t limit him to 10 (points) or something like that. But, we were hoping to hold him to like 19 or 20. We know the other guys can play, and they have a great team. But, if you’re going to beat Elida, then you have to at least contain Mathias.
NOTE: Mathias was recently nominated for the McDonald’s High School All-America Team. The selections for the McDonald’s All-America Team will take place in February.