Shawnee shot much better in the second half and also defended much better in the second half of its 67-41 boys basketball win over Kenton on Friday night and a lot of the credit for that goes to one thing, the Indians’ coach Mark Triplett said.
Shawnee led 32-31 at halftime after spending most of the first quarter playing catch up when Kenton hit its first four shots of the game.
It was a tie game at 34-all early in the third quarter but over the next nine minutes Shawnee went on a 27-2 run to build a 25-point lead, 61-36, with six minutes left in the game.
And that run was mostly about energy, Triplett said.
“I wasn’t particularly pleased in the first half. I didn’t think we were playing with much energy and they were,” he said.
“They played hard, they made shots, they shot really well from the perimeter. But I thought it was less about what they were doing and more about us not really playing with a sense of urgency. We challenged them at halftime to come out and pick that up and fix that on the defensive end of the floor.
“Once the ball goes through the net a few times and you get some stops all of a sudden the energy picks up a little bit.”
George Mangas scored 33 points and went over 1,000 points in his career as a junior to lead Shawnee (18-0, 7-0 Western Buckeye League) and Caden Vermillion had 12 points and seven rebounds. Bryce Ellis’ 10 points led Kenton (11-8, 5-2 WBL).
Shawnee shot 55 percent in the game (25 of 45) on field goals. Kenton shot 41 percent (16 of 39) but was just 4 of 17 in the second half.
Shawnee got five of its six 3-point field goals in the second half, including two each by John Barker and Mangas in the third quarter. Kenton got five 3-pointers in the first half from four different players but connected only once from long range in the second half.
“We hoped they wouldn’t continue to shoot that well from the perimeter and they didn’t,” Triplett said. “We went straight man instead of mixing in some zone and zone trap stuff like we did in the first half and just challenged them to go out and guard. I thought we were leaving them open on the perimeter.”
Kenton coach Matt McCullough said, “Shawnee is notorious for their runs. In the first half we controlled the tempo and were taking good shots on the offensive end. But in the third quarter we took some bad shots, which led to some fast break points for them. The momentum kept growing and we just couldn’t catch up.
“We couldn’t buy a bucket in the second half. Credit to them, they’re a good team. They played well in the second half, they responded. We’ve just got to learn from this loss,” he said.