SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — Christmas came early for Shawnee and George Mangas delivered the gift.
Down 47-45 with 4.4 seconds left against Marion Local. The Indians, on their side of the court, inbounded the ball and it quickly ended up in Mangas’ hands, just outside the 3-point arc.
With defenders draped all over him, Mangas juggled the ball, side-stepped a Flyer who jumped a second too soon and then launched a 25-foot that found the bottom of the net as the final buzzer sounded to give Shawnee a 48-47 victory over Marion Local in a thrilling non league affair.
With the win, Shawnee improves to 6-1. Marion Local, who had a 15-game win streak dating back to last season, suffered its first lost of the season and slips to 2-1.
Shawnee Mark Triplett said this was a big win over the defending Class 4A state champion.
Mangas, who finished with a game-high 18 points, also grabbed seven rebounds in a game that featured some of the best big man talent in the area.
“Obviously that was a big time shot for George Mangas and just an exciting basketball game,” Triplett said.
Triplett added that his team showed resiliency down the stretch to secure the win.
Flyer head coach Kurt Goettemoeller said his team came out lethargic in the first half but made up for it in the second half.
“I challenged our kids at halftime to get to another level in the second half and we did on both sides of the ball,” Goettemoeller said. “We defended them much better in the second half. We were better offensively in the second half and we really played hard.”
Goettemoeller added that he thought the team defended the final play well.
“That kid (Mangas) just made a great shot and a nice shot fake,” Goettemoeller said. “He hadn’t made a perimeter shot all night but he is a really good for a sophomore and I give him a lot of credit for sticking that shot. He has a lot of guts and a lot of heart.”
Shawnee played outstanding defense to own a 28-18 advantage at halftime. In the first two quarters, Flyer standout senior Nathan Bruns was limited to three points and the Indians’ interior players were winning the battle in the paint.
Indians’ Sheridan O’Neal, and Mangas, along with Elwer, who sat most of the first half with foul trouble, combined for 16 of Shawnee’s 28 points. Not too be overlooked was two clutch 3-pointers by John Barker in the second period.
“I thought we did a great job of playing team basketball in the first half and really kind of limited them offensively to one shot and battled them on the inside and did not give them anything easy,” Triplett said.
Goettemoeller challenged his squad to ratchet up their intensity and the Flyers responded by outscoring the Indians 14-6 in the third quarter and when Bruns put in a layup with time running out, the Flyers had sliced the lead to two, 34-32 going into the final stanza.
It took a little less than 30 seconds for Bruns to give the Flyers the lead when he popped a trey to open the scoring in the fourth period and give the Flyers their first lead of the game.
For the next five minutes the lead would exchange hands eight times as the two teams exchanged baskets and when Johnny Caprella, who finished with 12 points, hit a bucket with 3:39 left, Shawnee held a 42-41 lead. That lead grew three more points when Mangas was fouled behind the 3-point arc and he promptly sank all three from the charity stripe to give the Indians a four-point advantage.
But back to back turnovers by the Indians allowed the Flyers to score five unanswered points to grab the lead and owned that lead 47-45 with 16.4 seconds left on the clock.
In the second half, the Flyers outscored Shawnee 29-20.
Goettemoeller said in the second half he considered running a zone defense but felt his team needed to work on their man-to-man defense and it paid off in the second half until the final play.
“We might have had a better change if we would have played some zone,” Goettemoeller said. “I said we have to learn to play man-to-man defense against really good teams and they are a really good team and so I said I don’t care if zone gives us a better chance we are going to learn how to play man to man and guard and we just after them in the second half.”
Bruns finished the game with 14 points and seven rebounds and teammate Nick Tangemen added 12 points and seven caroms.
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.