SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP – Bath boys basketball coach Shawn Allen has been stressing to his squad the importance of playing the full 32 minutes.
Several of Bath’s 12 losses this season – coming into Friday’s Western Buckeye League encounter with Shawnee – were the result of leads that slipped away.
However, in Friday’s league clash with Shawnee, Bath staved off the Indians down the stretch for a hard-fought 50-48 victory at Lappin Gymnasium.
Bath held a slim lead for most of the game. Shawnee then made a run in the fourth quarter and for a brief time, reclaimed the lead.
However, Bath showed some resiliency by recapturing the lead and holding on for its second WBL win of the season.
“We’ve been in a lot of good basketball games with a lot of good people,” Allen said. “Coming down the stretch, we will either turn it over or we can’t make shots. Tonight was the first night, coming down the stretch, we handled the ball and was strong with it.
“I thought we did a good job all night sticking to what we wanted to do, defensively, and make them shoot jump shots.”
Chad Frey led Bath (8-12, 2-6 WBL) with 17 points. Harrison Gough, a 6-foot, 8-inch post/wing player for the Wildcats scored 11 points and pulled down eight rebounds. Will Clark added 10 points, including three 3-pointers for Bath.
Sheridan O’Neal led Shawnee (13-7, 4-3 WBL) with 14 points, six rebounds and three steals. Johnny Caprella scored nine points and had four rebounds, four assists and two steals. Tyson Elwer added nine points and five boards for the Indians.
“That was probably the best offensive game that Harrison Gough has had for a long time. He just kept people honest,” Allen said.
It was a tightly-contested first quarter with Bath slipping out with a 13-12 lead by the first stop. Frey led Bath with six points, while O’Neal led Shawnee with six points.
Shawnee picked up the tempo in the second quarter, going on a 6-0 run and pushing out to an 18-13 lead. Jake Hutchins (four points) scored twice and Elwer scored during that spurt for Shawnee.
However, Bath reclaimed the lead and came out with a 25-23 advantage by the halftime break. Frey led the way, scoring 11 first-half points.
Despite O’Neal’s eight third-quarter points, Bath slipped out with a 41-37 lead by the third stop. Bath hit four times behind the 3-point line in the third frame.
In the fourth quarter, Shawnee began to put the pressure on Bath, and reclaimed the lead, 48-47, with 2:26 left to play on an inside move by Tyler Moore (four points).
Devon Kinyon (seven points) came back with a basket, giving Bath a 49-48 lead.
Moments later, Frey went to the free throw line and made 1 of 2 shots, pushing the Bath lead to 50-48.
Shawnee got the ball with 11.9 seconds left to play. The Indians had to take it the length of the floor, but were unable to capitalize as time ran out.
“We didn’t shoot well,” Shawnee coach Mark Triplett said. “When you hold a team to 50 points, you feel decent about your opportunity to win. We were 3 for 9 from the free throw line and 3 for 19 from 3-point range. They (Bath) hit a lot of big threes. Any time they needed an answer, they knocked down some perimeter shots. I thought they played with a lot of energy. We didn’t play with that kind of sense of energy that I felt we needed to in order to be successful.”
Shawnee shot 39 percent from the field. Bath countered with 43-percent shooting.
Shawnee held a 33-29 edge on the boards.
Both teams handled the ball well, as Shawnee committed five turnovers and Bath turned it over nine times.
“I just can’t say enough about our kids, because they’ve been practicing hard and playing well all year,” Allen said. “We’re not that bad of a basketball team. I can’t say enough about the kids. This is a great win, coming down the stretch for the tournament. Shawnee is the No. 3 seed in our sectional and a great team – and our kids played well tonight and deserve to win.”
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.