SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — A couple ways to help overcome a size disadvantage is to play good defense and shoot the basketball well.
Shawnee did just that in Saturday’s nonconference game with Findlay. However, Findlay capitalized in the final minute of the game en route to a hard-fought 46-44 victory over Shawnee in girls basketball action at Lappin Gymnasium.
Findlay (9-2), who led for the majority of the game, knotted the score at 44-44 on a 3-pointer by Jacey Hardesty with 47 seconds remaining to play.
The Trojans got the ball back in the waning moments. And with 5.2 seconds left in the game, Nicole Muehl scored down low and drew the foul in the process. Muehl missed the free throw, but Shawnee (5-5) was unable to get a good shot off while time expired.
Muehl led all scorers with 20 points. She also pulled down 12 rebounds and dished out two assists.
“I thought we played well,” Shawnee coach Jeff Heistan said. “We’re down like 11 or 12 there at one point (third quarter). Then, right there at the end of the game, the kids fought back and showed a lot of guts to put us in a position to tie it up. But No. 20 (Muehl) made a great play. She took it to the hole and that was a tremendous play. It came down to the one play.”
The taller Trojans outrebounded the Indians, 38-26. However, it was the perimeter shooting of Shawnee in the second half that kept it close. Shawnee made seven 3-pointers — four of those in the fourth quarter.
Three players scored in double figures for Shawnee. Abby Waddle led the Indians with 13 points, including a 3-pointer. Claire Dahlke scored 11, including three shots behind the arc. Dahlke recorded all of her points in the second half. Britt Lauck scored 10 points, including two 3-pointers.
“I felt like those rebounding efforts kept us in the game,” Findlay coach Connie Lyon said. “Shawnee did a great job. They’re such great shooters from the perimeter. Fortunately, we were able to get some good looks and good shots at the basket.”
Findlay jumped out to a 6-0 lead to start the game. Shawnee battled back, eventually claiming its first lead, 11-10, on a 3-pointer by Lauck. At the end of the first quarter, Shawnee was clinging to a 13-12 lead.
In the second quarter, both teams struggled from the field. Shawnee made just 1-of-8 from the floor, while Findlay was 3-of-14. The Trojans slipped into the halftime break with an 18-16 lead.
Findlay began the second half with a 12-3 run in the first four minutes of the third quarter, extending its lead to 29-18. Christina McQueen (nine points, 11 rebounds), a 6-3 forward, scored a couple times down low. Zoe Swisher hit a 3-pointer to help keep the run alive for the Trojans. Findlay led 34-26 at the third stop.
In the final period, Shawnee’s perimeter shooting heated up. In the final eight minutes of action, the Indians made 6-of-8 shots from the floor.
For the game, Shawnee shot 37 percent, while Findlay connected on 36 percent of its field goal attempts.
Heistan said he wanted his team to be fresh down the stretch in hopes that his players could create some havoc at the defensive end.
“We didn’t want to press in the first half and wear ourselves down. But, we thought we could extend the floor in the second half and really put some pressure on them. I was pleased with our effort.”