SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP – A rare boys basketball afternoon contest went on Saturday afternoon between Shawnee and Lima Central Catholic in a non-league battle.
The Indians used precision shooting to secure an 81-53 victory over the Thunderbirds.
The Indians (8-1) were led by 18 points by 6-foot-5 sophomore Tyson Elwer – who missed the final 13:22 of the first half with two fouls and 17 points by fellow sophomore George Mangas and 10 by senior Sheridan O’Neal.
“We have very good balance. You had those three and our other two starters: Justin Behnke and Johnny Caprella; both had nine points each,” Shawnee head coach Mark Triplett said. “We have a good group of players coming off the bench that provide us with a lot of energy. I like our balance overall. We have a good rotation between our starters and our bench players.”
Junior Biggz Johnson led the Thunderbirds with 14 points and De’Montre Garner added 13.
The Indians canned 28-of-55 from the floor – including 7-of-14 from behind the arc - for 51 percent versus the T-Birds’ mark of 35.3 percent (17-of-49; 7-of-18 on 3-pointers).
Both teams were looking to get into a transition game in the early going and LCC led 8-6 on a basket by Rossy Moore. When Behnke buried a 3-ball halfway through the period, the Indians had the lead for good at 9-8. Shooting 8-of-15 from the floor in the opener, they opened up an 18-11 edge, scoring the last five points of the quarter, including a triple by O’Neal with 1:15 to go on the clock.
The T-Birds scored the first five points of the second period to pull within 18-15. From then on, the Indians led between three and 11 points – taking their biggest margin of the first half of 29-18 on two free throws by O’Neal at the 3:16 mark of the second period. Shawnee used a mix of man-to-man and 1-2-2 zone to try and stymie LCC. LCC had a 10-2 surge to again get within three points – 31-28 on a banked-in 3-pointer by Garner from the key, only to see the Indians tally the final four points of the half – two on O’Neal’s foul shots at 11.2 seconds - to claim a 35-28 halftime lead.
“When Tyson picked up his second foul – both were tough calls against him – you need to move on. I felt Jake Hutchings did a good job of absorbing more minutes,” Triplett said. “We then went with a smaller, 3-guard lineup more and that was effective. We knew LCC wanted to get into a running game and we used our zones – along with a 2-3 zone – to try and limit them. We really focused on not giving them offensive rebounds; that is one the keys to their success and basically, we didn’t give them a lot of second chances for scores. We did give up a couple of 3-pointers but you have to give up something against a team like this.”
The third period helped Shawnee remain in control and build itslead, with the Indians outscoring their foe 22-15. Elwer returned from the bench to score six points, along with a pair of 3s by Johnny Caprella. On the LCC side, Johnson led all scorers with eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Shawnee couldn’t shake the T-Birds but when they closed the period with a 9-0 span, including a foul shot by Logan Maxwell, that gave them a 57-43 lead after three quarters of action.
Shawnee shot 7-of-13 in the period versus LCC’s 5-of-13.
In the fourth period, Elwer closed with a flourish, dropping in 12 points to allow the Indians to pull away. They also downed 9-of-15 foul shots as they were in the bonus at the 7:24 mark of the finale. Shawnee led by 30 points at one time for their biggest margin before settling for the 29-point margin of victory.