SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP – It eventually had to happen.
Early, in Wednesday’s nonleague boys basketball matchup between Shawnee and visiting Lima Central Catholic, Shawnee standout George Mangas was not a factor.
Then came the second quarter.
Mangas came to life in a hurry, scoring 15 points in the second frame.
That burst by Mangas seemed to set the tone as Shawnee went on for a 58-41 victory over LCC at Lappin Gymnasium.
Mangas led Shawnee (10-0) and all scorers with 31 points. Mangas was a perfect 7 of 7 shooting from the free throw line.
Mangas, last year’s Division II Player of the Year, came into Wednesday’s contest averaging 30.9 points per game.
Tyson Elwer had 10 points, 10 rebounds, two blocks and three steals for Shawnee. Brady Wheeler added nine points for the Indians.
“George (Mangas) is a very competitive kid,” Shawnee assistant coach Nick Bertke said. “I think he was getting frustrated at the way we were playing. He did some great things tonight; and he has a team around him that supports him, and they do what we need them to do.”
Shawnee head coach Mark Triplett was unavailable for Wednesday’s game.
Shawnee has now won 35 consecutive games, dating back to the beginning of last season.
Rossy Moore led Lima Central Catholic (4-5) with 17 points on Wednesday, including three 3-pointers. Evan Unruh scored 14 points, including three shots behind the 3-point line for the T-Birds.
It was a see-saw battle in the first quarter of action, as the lead changed hands six times.
LCC got out in transition early on, and pulled out to a 7-3 lead.
Unruh nailed a 3-pointer to jump-start the T-Birds.
Shawnee battled back.
A 3-pointer by Jarin Bertke (three points) gave Shawnee an 8-7 lead at the 2:30 mark of the first stanza.
By the end of the first quarter, the game was knotted at 12.
LCC limited Shawnee to 3 of 7 shooting from the field in the first eight minutes. Shawnee turned the ball over six times in that stretch.
Shawnee picked up the tempo in the second quarter.
At the 4:30 mark, Mangas completed an old-fashion 3-point play to give the Indians a 21-15 lead.
With 3:07 left to play in the first half, DeMarr Foster (four points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals) made a steal and scored a quick basket that knotted the game at 21.
But Shawnee had an answer of its own.
Mangas spearheaded a strong second quarter for the Indians. The 6-foot-, 4-inch senior scored 15 of his 21 first-half points, in the second stanza, as Shawnee pulled out to a 31-27 lead by the halftime break.
In the second quarter, Shawnee was 8 of 12 from the field.
Unruh paced the T-Birds in the first half with 12 points, including three 3-pointers.
Shawnee outscored LCC 12-4 in the third quarter. Mangas scored 10 points in that 8-minute span.
The T-Birds struggled, hitting just 1 of 10 from the field in the third frame.
“I thought they (LCC) did a nice job of slowing us down,” Bertke said. “I thought it was a great effort from them. They were able to eliminate a lot of our fast-break opportunities. … Give credit to LCC. They did a good job with that.”
For the game, Shawnee shot 59 percent from the field. LCC connected on 32 percent of its field goal attempts.
Shawnee committed 15 turnovers. LCC turned the ball over just nine times on the night.”
Bertke pointed to team chemistry as the key to the program’s success.
“These kids have been together for a while; and a lot of these kids played together last year,” Bertke said. “Those roles from last year haven’t changed a lot. They care about winning; and they sacrifice for each other. It’s fun. You go into games thinking that they are going to find ways to win.”