Just about everything went right for Preble Shawnee in the championship game of their own Holiday Tournament.
The Arrows jumped out to a 15-4 first quarter lead over Twin Valley South and never looked back in claiming their first tournament title since 2010 with a 56-40 win, Saturday, Dec. 28.
Sophomore Trey Smith paced the Arrows with game-high 24 points as Shawnee claimed the win. Smith earned MVP honors for his performance. He scored 18 points in the Arrows first round, 83-62, win over Gamble Montessori on Friday night.
The Arrows shot over 50 percent from the field and held the Panthers 6 foot, 6 inch center Michael Green to just four points. Green battled foul trouble most of the night, collecting three in first half, which limited his play. Green scored 30 in the Panthers opening night win over Tri-County North.
Shawnee extended its lead to 26-12 at halftime and led by as many as 18 twice in the second half. South never got closer than 10 in the second half.
Shawnee coach Jason Crider said his team executed the game-plan almost perfectly. He said the plan was to force Green off the block and apply pressure on the wings.
“It feels great,” Crider said of winning the title. “I think its the first time in three or four years. It just happened to be a night where everything kind of went our way.”
Crider said the start was a key to the win.
“I think it was very important. In the four wins, we’ve got off to a fast start,” he said. “Tony’s a great coach. You know he is going to have adjustment after adjustment. We had to be prepared for anything he throws at us.
Joining Smith on the All-Tournament team were Josh Willoughby and Brian Ketring.
South coach Tony Augspurger said the better team won on this night.
“I thought Shawnee played very well. It was one of those things where they clearly were the better team tonight,” Augspurger said. “Give them credit. They’ve got some size, they have some athleticism. They played hard. They played smart. They put us in places where we didn’t do a very good job of taking care of the basketball.”
The Panthers didn’t respond well to the big early deficit.
“We just didn’t do a very good job of responding. We never got it close enough that we put them in a position where they had to start thinking ‘here they come.’ I don’t think we’re geared to be a great come-from-behind team.”
“All the credit here goes to Shawnee,” Augspurger said. “The best team tonight definitely won. There is no doubt about it. I’m not saying by February when we play them again we can’t be the better team. But the best team in the gym was the champion tonight.”
Shawnee, now 4-2, will host Carlisle Friday night.
Twin Valley South, 4-5, is scheduled to host Newton on Friday and travel to Fenwick Saturday.
Tri-County North takes third
Tri-County North shook off a sluggish start to roll to a 70-44 win over Gamble Montessori in the Consolation game.
North, which led 28-22 at halftime, held the Gators to just two third quarter points to break open a close game.
“We got better. We rotated defensively pretty good and we got out in transition, which is something we haven’t done good the last few games. I’m hoping the guy see that and know that defensively is where it begins and that gives us opportunities to transition from there,” North coach Scott King said.
North adjusted the Gamble’s pressure to score several easy baskets in the final 16 minutes.
“It’s all related. We talked about breaking the press at halftime. I thought int the first half we were being to passive in that pressure and we were passing up good looks,” King said. “In the second half we handled that pressure and broke it for layups and we were able to get our defense set and that translated into easy buckets.”
North was led by Austin Hutchins, who scored 22 points and was selected to the All-Tournament team.
On Friday, North struggled against rival Twin Valley South in the opening game of the tournament, falling 74-40.
“One thing we have stressed is coming ready to play because against high caliber teams we can’t go down in the first quarter like we have been. We’re good enough to play with teams. We’re not good enough to play 15 points down and try and get back in the game. It’s just something we’ve got to work on,” King said.
North, now 5-5, will host Tri-Village on Friday, Jan. 3.