SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — Slow starts have spelled doom for Shawnee in the last several games and it appeared the same was going to occur after Kenton broke out to a 13-3 lead with two minutes remaining in the first quarter Friday night.
However, thanks to some tenacious defense along with controlling the boards, the Indians shook off their early game woes to post a 67-51 victory over Kenton in a Western Buckeye League clash.
With the win the Indians improve to 12-5 overall and 3-2 in the WBL. Kenton dips to 2-4 in the league and 10-6 for the season.
“We have been getting off to some slow starts and I thought that it showed some character from our team that we came back. We have lost three or four coming into tonight and we got down 13-3 and it showed some toughness that we battled back. “
By winning the battle of the boards, 30-14, especially on the offensive end, the Indians got second and third chances that they converted into points.
Triplett added that Shawnee’s big men, using their physicality and height advantage, stepped it up inside by recording eight blocks inside and making it tough in the paint for the Wildcats to score.
“They killed us on the boards and those second chance, third chance opportunities they created was the the difference,” Kenton head coach Matt McCullough said. “Turnovers and rebounding were the difference in this basketball game.
For the game, the Wildcats committed 21 turnovers.
Shawnee began to dig itself out of the hole in the final two minutes of the first quarter after scoring the final seven points of the period. In the second quarter, the Indians began to take control of the game. Tied at 19, Shawnee would close the first half with a 9-2 run to open up a 28-21 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, Shawnee kept Kenton at bay and despite several runs by the Indians, the Wildcats would get as close as four before ending the quarter down by seven, 43-25.
Looking to force some turnovers, Kenton attempted to go with a full-court press in the fourth quarter. However, Shawnee had little trouble handling the Wildcat pressure and broke the press that led to easy basket and allowed the Indians to open up a double-digit advantage to put the game away.
“We just couldn’t get it past five or six,” McCullough said. “We would make a run and they would answer. We would have a key turnover here or a missed turnover over there and we just couldn’t get past that hump and they ran away with it at the end.”
Shawnee shared the wealth when it came to scoring as three different Indians broke the double-digit barrier. Johnny Caprella finished with 16 points while Tyler Moore scored 13 and Sheridan O’ Neal recorded a double double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. A total of nine Indians would record points.
“We had good balance,” Triplett said. “We didn’t have the 25 or 30 point night from anybody and I think that is when we are at our best, when we are getting 8 to 12 from a variety of guys and it keeps everybody engaged in the offense.”
For Kenton, Freshman Jacob Eversole led all scorers with 17 points and Jacob Sharp finished with 14. Credit the Indians’ defense for holding Sharp, one of Kenton’s top scorers, to three field goals for the game and no field goals and four points in the pivotal second and third quarters.
Reach Jose Nogueas at 567-242-0468 or on twitter @JoseNogueras1.