SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — Shawnee’s Johnny Caprella found his scoring rhythm early and he didn’t let it go.
Caprella has been more in an “assist mode” for most of the season.
But Caprella ignited Shawnee with 22 points to power the Indians to a 62-54 boys basketball victory over Wapakoneta Friday at Lappin Gymnasium.
Caprella hit 8 of 11 from the field, including canning 4 of 4 on 3-pointers. Three of those 3-pointers came in the final quarter.
He also had seven rebounds.
Caprella came in averaging nine points per game.
“It was the rivalry. I know all their guys,” Caprella said. “We all get up for this game. … Once I hit the floater (in the third quarter), I knew it was my night.’’
Shawnee coach Mark Triplett said, “That’s the first time we’ve had someone score over 20 points all year. We’ve been a very balanced offense and I think Johnny got up for a rivalry game against a very good basketball team. He hit some big-time shots, obviously.’’
George Mangas added 13 points, three rebounds and three blocks for Shawnee.
Tyson Elwer had eight points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.
Shawnee is 9-1, 2-0 in the Western Buckeye League.
Wapak is 6-2, 1-1 in the WBL.
“It’s hard to say there are giant games early in the season,” Triplett said. “But this was a big opportunity for us to go out on our home floor and compete and we found a way (to win).’’
Adam Scott led the Redskins with 17 points, five rebounds and five blocks.
Aaron Good had 16 points.
Reed Merricle had nine points on three 3-pointers.
Shawnee clearly won the rebounding battle, 30-18.
Shawnee went out to a 17-10 first-quarter lead and led 28-24 at the half.
Wapak had a 10-0 surge in the third quarter and pulled out to a 37-35 lead after Merricle and Good both sank 3-pointers.
The Redskins led 44-43 heading into the fourth quarter.
Caprella’s first 3-pointer of the fourth quarter tied the game at 46.
His next 3-pointer gave Shawnee the lead to stay 49-48 with 5:05 to go.
Caprella’s third 3-pointer of the final quarter pushed the Shawnee lead to 54-48 with 3:18 left.
“That (Caprella) was someone we knew was a shooter going in, and when he finds it, we have to find him,” Wapak coach Doug Davis said.
Shawnee led 56-54 with 1:48 to go.
Shawnee’s Sheridan O’Neal drove to the basket, then fed Mangas from underneath the hoop. Mangas scored and the Shawnee lead was 58-54 with 45 seconds left.
Wapak then missed two foul shots off the double bonus.
Mangas countered by hitting 4 of 4 at the line in the final 20 seconds.
“George has ice in his veins,” Triplett said. “Late in the game, he wants the ball in his hands. He scored our last six points tonight. And that was a tremendous pass he got from Sheridan (O’Neal).’’
The first half had a handful of runs and surges for both teams.
Shawnee went out to a quick 12-4 lead with 2:55 left in the first quarter.
Caprella led the Indians early with six points in the first.
The Indians went on a 9-3 run in the second quarter to pull out to a 28-17 lead.
Wapak came right back and closed the half on a 7-0 run, as it used two quick Shawnee turnovers to ignite the run.
That brought Wapak within 28-24 at the half.
“We got off to a slow start, but fought our way back,” Davis said. “But once we got the lead, we talked about getting some stops and that’s what we didn’t do down the stretch.’’
Scott had nine points, four rebounds and three blocks at the half.
Merricle had eight 3-pointers against Fort Recovery this year and Caprella held him to nine points with three 3-pointers on Friday.
“I wanted to harass him on top,” Caprella said.
O’Neal covered Scott most of the way and the Indians sent some help to him in the final quarter. Scott was held to two points in the final quarter.
“All five of the guys on defense, had one eyeball on him (Scott),” Davis said. “He’d catch the ball in the post and he was getting surrounded.’’
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