The Shawnee Braves grabbed at least a share of the Central Buckeye Conference’s Kenton Division, surging in the second half for a 70-48 win at Kenton Ridge on Friday night.
The title was Shawnee’s fourth straight. It held a one-game lead over both Bellefontaine and Tecumseh entering Friday’s action, with one game to play.
Kenton Ridge made Shawnee work for it in the first half, down just 27-25 at halftime.
But Shawnee (14-5, 8-1 CBC) sprinted ahead with a 24-point third quarter, highlighted by fastbreaks and aggressive defense. The Braves took a commanding 51-37 lead into the fourth.
“We talk about that in practice,” Shawnee coach Chris McGuire said of looking for fastbreak opportunities. “We’ve got athletic kids so let’s push the ball. If we can get it up the floor we’re kicking it.”
Seth Gray led Shawnee with 23 points. Andrew Tincher and Jaden Greenwood both added 16.
Tincher, Greenwood and Caleb Potts are the three seniors on the Braves’ roster, so a run at five straight titles isn’t out of the question.
“They’ve had success all the way through their high school careers with their fourth CBC title,” McGuire said of his seniors. “They know what we want offensively. Defensively they are an extension of me on the floor.”
Kenton Ridge dropped to 11-8 and 3-6 Kenton Division.
“(Shawnee) is just a better team,” Kenton Ridge coach Kris Spriggs said. “They’ve won a lot of close games … they’re seasoned that way and they do a good job defensively. We’ll lace them up tomorrow and hope to get better.”
Jordan Bailey led Kenton Ridge with 15 points. Scotty Blackburn added 12 and Isaiah Charlton 11.
“They don’t panic. They take it possession by possession,” Spriggs said of the decisive third quarter. “We’ve been there, we just can finish and put a whole four quarters together. We’re young, but hopefully we’ll improve and progress as we get older.”