The rematch goes to Shawnee

PAULDING – Not this time. Not with the possible end of their season staring them in the face.

Shawnee’s boys basketball team, which had lost in overtime to Wapakoneta during the regular season, evened the score, so to speak, with a 47-40 win over the Redskins in a first-round Division II sectional tournament game on Wednesday night at Paulding High School.

“Being a senior in tournament basketball, now it’s either win or you’re done. It’s not just win or go home, it’s win or you’re done,” said Austin Miller, who led Shawnee with 23 points.

Shawnee scored whenever it wanted to early and defended when it needed it most to advance to a sectional championship game against Napoleon on Friday night at Paulding.

The Indians sprinted out to a 19-4 lead two minutes into the second quarter before it turned into the close game it was expected to be.

Shawnee’s lead was down to five points, 22-17, at halftime. It was 33-33 after three quarters. Wapakoneta led twice early in the fourth quarter. And after Shawnee had taken a 40-37 lead, the Redskins tied the game on a 3-pointer by Nate Metzger with 2:41 to play.

But those would be the last points Wapakoneta scored. Miller scored on a drive to put Shawnee up 42-40 with 1:52 to play, then hit two free throws for a 44-40 lead. Free throws by Toby Freiberger and Will McBride produced Shawnee’s final three points.

Asked what made the difference in the last four minutes of the game, Shawnee coach Mark Triplett said, “The defensive stops.”

“We’ve got 10 seniors. We said, ‘You’ve got four minutes for your basketball lives.’ Wapakoneta took a lot away that we wanted to do on the offensive end. They were a really physical, really aggressive defensive team. We shot well early. We found some ways to get some stops late,” he said.

Freiberger, who scored 12 points, nine of them in the first half, said, “We just tried to stay composed and play our game. We had our brothers with us the whole game, we leaned on each other and that’s how we won the game.”

His 12 points were nearly double his season average of 6.9 points a game. “I’ve kind of been waiting for that. I give all the credit to my teammates for finding me, getting me open. The shots were falling … had fun all night. It was a good game,” he said.

Shawnee raised its record to 11-12 with the win. Jackson Courter led Wapakoneta (12-11) with 18 points, including four 3-pointers.

Jim Naveau
Jim Naveau has covered local and high school sports for The Lima News since 1978 and Ohio State football since 1992. His OSU coverage appears in more than 30 newspapers. Naveau, a Miami University graduate, also worked at the Greenville Advocate and the Piqua Daily Call. He has seen every boys state basketball tournament since 1977. Reach him at [email protected] or 567-242-0414.