The good news for Shawnee’s boys basketball team, which is not-so-good news for everyone else, is that the undefeated Indians might still be getting better 20 games into their schedule.
George Mangas scored 34 points, Tyson Elwer had 16 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots, and John Barker scored 14 points to lead Shawnee to an 81-41 win over Elida on Friday night at the Elida Fieldhouse to clinch at least a share of the Western Buckeye League championship.
That blowout only slightly resembled a 65-52 win by the Indians over the Bulldogs in the championship game of the Tip-Off Classic the first week of the season on the same court.
“They’ve steadily improved. They share the ball so well. They’ve got options and all their options are pretty good. They’re a load,” Elida coach Denny Thompson said. “They’re good but we were not tonight.”
Shawnee jumped out to leads of 15-2 and 25-4 in the first quarter, was up 46-19 at halftime and controlled the game from beginning to end.
“The goal tonight was to come out and play with a sense of urgency early in the game and try to control the tempo,” Shawnee coach Mark Triplett said.
“The first time they really did a good job of controlling the pace and knocked down perimeter shots. The goal was to give them one opportunity to score, control the offensive glass and control the pace of the game. We were able to do both those things early on and it just kind of snowballed for them,” he said.
Elwer said, “We know we should have beaten them by more the first time we played them. We definitely played into their hands the first time. We wanted to get up and down (the floor) a lot more this time.”
Mangas was the main beneficiary of the Indians getting up and down the floor early when he scored 18 of their first 23 points.
Shawnee’s fast break never looked better than on one play late in the second quarter, which began with a long offensive rebound which came to Mangas, who tapped the ball to Barker without ever catching it. Then Barker tapped the ball without grabbing it to Brady Wheeler who caught it at full speed and finished the break with a lay-up.
Getting Elwer, a 6-5 junior post player, more touches on offense is something Shawnee has worked on recently.
“We’ve been trying to implement the inside-out game a lot more and it’s opening up a lot more now,” he said.
Triplett said, “Tyson had 18 points against Fort Recovery, he had 16 (points) and 14 (rebounds) tonight. We know he has that ability. We have to do a better job of finding him and we are lately. He’s also dominating the glass and controlling the paint. If we can get him going and add him to our scoring, he’s a dangerous kid.”
Shawnee (20-0, 8-0 WBL) got a share of its first league title since 2008 with its win. Ottawa-Glandorf, with one WBL loss, is the only team with a chance to share the title. But Shawnee can wrap up an outright championship with a win over Bath at home next Friday.
“One of our first goals going into the year was to win the Western Buckeye League. But we’re not looking to share it so we want to go out next week and take care of business so we can win that thing outright,” Triplett said..
Dylan Buetner scored 11 points to lead Elida (6-14, 2-6 WBL).
“We’ve got to regroup. We’ve got goals to win some tournament games. We’ve got to go to work, reach back a little bit and regroup,” Thompson said. “And we’ve got to have a short memory. Push the erase button and let’s move forward.”