SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — First-year Shawnee boys basketball head coach Mark Triplett said his first win in the Western Buckeye League over St. Marys was special all on its own.
Getting a 62-49 win over his alma mater just made it a little sweeter.
“We’re trying to build our tradition here at Shawnee back up to where it has been in the past,” said Triplett, a 2006 Memorial High School grad. “All league wins mean something, but there’s a little something for it to come against the Roughriders.”
Shawnee (2-2, 1-0 WBL) went on an 18-0 run in the first half to erase an early deficit and kept the St. Marys boys basketball team (1-3, 0-1 WBL) at arms’ length the whole second half in a 13-point WBL-opening victory.
St. Marys’ great start was undermined by a long scoring drought in the second quarter. The Roughriders built an early 13-5 lead on the strength of offensive rebounds and putback to go along with a pair of Josh Young 3-pointers.
“St. Marys has one of the best coaches in the state and we knew they were going to come out ready to play,” Triplett said about Dan Hegemier, who remains two wins away from No. 500 for his career.
But Shawnee’s 2-3 zone became problematic for the Roughriders midway through the first quarter. After the Riders’ Isaac Fitzgerald made a driving basket to put the Riders up 15-11 early in the second quarter, St. Marys didn’t score again until Derek Jay splashed in a 3-pointer with 54 seconds in the first half.
“We didn’t score,” Hegemier said. “We had the ball inside, on a rebound, we had good set shots from the perimeter, we just didn’t put them in.”
St. Marys went two of 10 from the floor in the second quarter and shot 19 of 55 from the floor (34.5 percent) for the game.
Shawnee point guard Jaden O’Neal scored a game-high 18 points for the Indians and JaQuan Tucker added 17 points.
St. Marys’ Isaac Fitzgerald paced the Roughriders with 16 points on 7 of 14 shooting. Josh Young added 12 points on four 3-pointers off the bench.
NOTE: St. Marys’ game originally scheduled for tonight against Coldwater has been rescheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 7 at 6 p.m. The Riders host Kenton next Friday night at 6 p.m.