The halftime scenario was a familiar one for the Shawnee High School boys basketball team.
On Dec. 14, Shawnee trailed London by six at the half, but the Red Raiders came out strong in the third quarter and beat the Braves 58-31.
Trailing 21-17 at the half on Friday night in Springfield, Shawnee coach Chris McGuire told his team to be prepared for another Red Raiders surge.
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London outscored the Braves 20-5 in the third quarter en route to a 53-32 Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division victory.
“We knew they were going to come out and be really aggressive in the third quarter,” McGuire said. “We just made too many mistakes in the third quarter to capitalize on it.”
Drew Mitch had 14 points for Shawnee, who fell to 7-7 and 3-3 in the Kenton Trail Division.
“Overall, we made way too many mistakes to be able to play with or beat a good team,” McGuire said. “We had countless unforced turnovers, countless block out mistakes, ball screen coverage wasn’t great. They did it to us the last game. The third quarter was the key.”
Trey Woodyard had 15 points and Jake Andrich and Isaiah Hatem each had 12 for the Red Raiders, who improved to 14-2 and 6-1 in the Kenton Trail Division. London remains in a first-place tie with Jonathan Alder (12-3, 6-1).
The Braves struggled from the field to start the game as London jumped out to a 9-0 lead. The Red Raiders held Shawnee scoreless for the first five minutes of the game.
The Braves trailed by as many as 11 in the second quarter, but inched back into the game. Isaac Siemon hit a 3-pointer with about a minute left in the half to cut the Red Raiders lead to 21-17.
London opened the second half on a 5-0 run, forcing McGuire to call a 30-second timeout just 34 seconds into the second half. The Red Raiders went on to outscore the Braves 20-5 in the period. They switched to a 3-2 zone that forced Shawnee into multiple turnovers.
“They’ve been playing it a lot more lately,” McGuire said. “We were anticipating that and thought that if we got good ball movement in the high post and short corner areas that we’d be able to get some scoring opportunities, but we turned it over way too much offensively just the whole night regardless of what defense it was. That made it tough to score.”
Shawnee entered the game with back-to-back wins over Tecumseh and Graham and had won five for their last six games.
“The guys are improving and the guys are getting more confidence,” McGuire said.
The Braves play three games next week — Northwestern on Tuesday, at Jonathan Alder on Friday and at Oakwood on Saturday.
“You’ve to be able learn from it, you’ve got to move on and understand that (London) is a really good team,” McGuire said. “Against good teams, you can’t make mistakes like that. You’ve got to play nearly mistake-free basketball and unfortunately, we didn’t do that tonight.”