ADA – It seemed like Shawnee was on the brink of breaking the game wide open.
Every time Shawnee went on a small run, Wauseon had an answer.
In the fourth quarter, Shawnee was able to hold off Wauseon for a hard-fought 69-54 victory in a Division II boys district basketball semifinal at Ohio Northern University Wednesday night.
With the win, Shawnee (24-0) will face Western Buckeye League-foe Defiance (17-7) Saturday at 7 p.m. at Ohio Northern for a district title.
In Wednesday’s first district semifinal at Ohio Northern, Defiance defeated Bryan 48-28.
Tyson Elwer led Shawnee with 20 points on 6 of 9 shooting from the floor. George Mangas scored 19 points and came away with eight rebounds. John Barker had 18 points and five assists for Shawnee.
Noah Tester led Wauseon (17-7) with 16 points. Connar Penrod (15), Jonas Tester (12) and Sean Brock (10) all scored in double figures for Wauseon.
“They’re a team that’s going to make you beat them,” Shawnee coach Mark Triplett said. “They’re physical and aggressive, and well-coached.
“I was proud of our guys. Each time they made a run, we had a response for them. I thought we needed to clean some things up. I thought they hurt us on the glass. … And we didn’t shoot well from the free throw line. But tournament basketball is all about surviving and advancing. And I thought our guys dug deep and battled back.”
After Wauseon claimed an early lead, Shawnee came roaring back and pulled out to a 20-11 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Shawnee got it done at the defensive end, as it forced Wauseon into a couple turnovers late in the first quarter, which resulted in easy buckets.
Elwer and Mangas led the way for Shawnee in the first quarter with 8 and 7 points, respectively. Mangas also came away with two steals.
Shawnee was 8 of 13 shooting from the floor in the first eight minutes for 62-percent shooting.
Wauseon cut it to 8, 31-23, on a put back by Jonas Tester, with a little more than two minutes left in the first half.
Then with 1:32 left in the half, Brock made 2 of 2 from the free throw line to cut it to 31-25.
Shawnee pushed back out to a 37-25 lead by the halftime break, thanks to 3-pointers by Brady Wheeler and Jarin Bertke.
Mangas led Shawnee with 14 first-half points. Elwer had 10. Shawnee was 14 of 24 from the floor for 58 percent.
Wauseon cut the deficit to eight points in the third.
But once again, Shawnee had an answer.
Shawnee pushed back out to a 46-35 lead by the third stop on a 3-pointer by Elwer, his third of the night.
For the game, Shawnee shot 52 percent from the field. Wauseon countered with 41-percent shooting on its field goal attempts.
Shawnee turned the ball over 10 times, while Wauseon committed nine turnovers on the night.
Shawnee held the edge on the boards, 19-14.
Mangas said Wauseon gave his team all it could handle.
“It was tough, because they crashed the offensive glass pretty well. So, we really had to box out,” Mangas said. “Every time they made a run, we came back.
So, we just had to keep pushing and play until the buzzer sounded. … If we did that, we knew we would win.”
Defiance 48, Bryan 28
In Wednesday’s first district semifinal at ONU, Defiance jumped out to a 9-0 lead to start the contest and never trailed, en route to a 20-point victory over Bryan.
However, Bryan made it interesting.
By the end of the third quarter, Defiance was clinging to a 34-28 lead.
However, in the final eight minutes, Defiance outscored Bryan 14-0 to put the game away. The Golden Bears struggled, going 0 for 10 from the field in the final stanza.
Three players scored in double figures for Defiance (17-7). Will Lammers (13), Caden Kline (12) and Tyrel Goings (11) led the way for the Bulldogs.
Reese Jackson led Bryan (16-8) with 10 points.
The Bulldogs led 14-5 by the end of the first quarter.
Defiance was 6 of 11 shooting from the field in the first eight minutes of action. Bryan was just 2 of 7 from the floor.
Defiance led 24-12 by the halftime break. The Bulldogs shot 50 percent from the floor in the first half (10 of 20).
The Golden Bears battled back in the second half.
Bryan cut it to 6, 30-24 on back-to-back 3-pointers by Caleb Zuver (nine points), with less than three minutes left in the third.
Moments later, the Golden Bears cut it to 4, 30-26 on two free throws by Jackson.
For the game, Defiance shot 53 percent from the field. Bryan shot 31 percent on field goal attempts.