ADA – Defiance came out in its familiar, scrappy 2-3 zone defense.
However, Shawnee quickly solved it.
Shawnee hit its perimeter shots, while its defensive pressure helped speed up the tempo of the game, en route to a 58-45 win in a boys Division II district semifinal at Ohio Northern University’s King Horn Center Wednesday night.
With the win, Shawnee (18-7) will take on Wauseon (24-0) in a district championship game Saturday at 7 p.m. at ONU.
Wauseon, the No. 1 ranked team in Division II, slipped past Van Wert in Wednesday’s second semifinal, 51-41.
“I think it was critical for us to get the ball to the middle of that zone,” Shawnee coach Mark Triplett said. “I thought early in the game, we were much too passive at the offensive end. The first good look from the perimeter, we were jacking it. That’s when we’re not going to have success. So, I thought once we were able to get the ball to the middle of the floor, and most importantly get some defensive stops and get out in transition, that’s what was successful for us.”
Johnny Caprella led Shawnee with 17 points, including two 3-pointers. Caprella also had five steals at the defensive end. Tyler Moore scored 14 points. Sheridan O’Neal recorded a double-double for the Indians, scoring 13 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. Riley Rosado added eight points and three assists for Shawnee.
Tyrel Goings led Defiance (10-15) with 14 points and eight boards. D.J. Dobson scored nine points and dished out four assists. Will Lammers added nine points for the Bulldogs.
It was Defiance who got out to a strong start.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 9-2 lead.
Lammers’ 3-pointer helped jump-start the Bulldogs. Nasir Mitchell (four points) had two buckets in that spurt.
Lammers had a big first quarter, scoring seven points as the Bulldogs led 15-11 at the end of the first quarter.
The Indians responded.
Shawnee knotted the game at 19 apiece on a 3-pointer by Rosado at the 3:30 mark of the second quarter.
Then moments later, Rosado hit a three at the top of the key to give Shawnee its first lead, 22-19.
The Indians extended their lead to 26-19, with a minute left to play in the half, on an inside move by Moore.
Shawnee led 26-21 at the halftime break.
Shawnee got out to a quick start in the second half, going on an 8-2 run to start the third quarter, pushing out to a 34-23 lead. Three-pointers by both Caprella and O’Neal got the Indians off to a strong start.
Shawnee led 42-30 by the third stop. Caprella scored seven points in the big third quarter for the Indians.
“I thought we played about three good stretches in the first half,” Triplett said. “Then in the third quarter, we got it going. But, we didn’t play a complete game, by any stretch of the imagination.”
In the fourth quarter, Defiance connected on just 5 of 16 shots from the field, while Shawnee kept pushing the tempo.
Shawnee got outrebounded in the first half, 19-7. However, the Indians did a much better job in the second half, winning the battle on the boards in the final two quarters, 22-15
“We talked at halftime, that we had a five-point lead and we were getting outrebounded by 12,” Triplett said. We said there was no way we were going to continue to have success if we don’t start getting some rebounds. They outrebounded us by five on the night. But that means we outrebounded them by seven in the second half. (In the second half) we were able to get some long rebounds on the box outs and then get out into transition.”
Shawnee kept pushing the tempo in the second half.
“We talked about it being a 32-minute game,” Triplett said. “They’re going to go on runs, and we’re going to go on runs. We thought that on a bigger court and playing a few more guys that we were able to use our athleticism in that full-court defense.”
Caprella scored 10 points in the second half, mostly off strong inside moves.
“I knew the rotation was there, but I needed to get in the middle (of the zone),” Caprella said.
For the game, Shawnee shot 47 percent from the field. Defiance shot 35 percent from the floor.
“We go through lulls, offensively,” longtime Defiance coach Kirk Lehman said. “We were having one of those stretches where we were struggling a little bit, offensively. We had eight turnovers at halftime. … That’s on the high end for us. But give them credit. They did a great job, defensively.”
Wauseon 51, Van Wert 41
Van Wert kept it close for most the game.
However, Wauseon was able to make enough plays in its patient half-court offense, to slip out with a 10-point victory.
Wauseon led 14-10 at the end of the first quarter. Wauseon’s lead grew to 26-16 by halftime. Its lead was 39-26 by the third stop.
Levi Seiler led Wauseon with 16 points. Austin Rotroff, a 6-foot, 9-inch post player, scored 10 points and dished out three assists for Wauseon.
Jacoby Kelly led Van Wert (13-11) with 15 points and five rebounds. Nate Place scored 14 points and pulled down five boards for Cougars.
Wauseon outrebounded Van Wert, 33-22.
Wauseon has been ranked No. 1 in the state from wire to wire this season