The Central Buckeye Conference clash between Shawnee and host Tecumseh wasn’t a must-win game in boys high school basketball Friday.
But the visiting Braves certainly feel better about their chances to win the CBC Kenton Division following a 53-43 victory.
Shawnee helped break a three-way tie for the Kenton Division lead that Shawnee, Tecumseh and Bellefontaine all shared at 4-1. Bellefontaine played Stebbins on Friday.
“We feel like it was one we needed to get, but by no means have we won anything,” said Shawnee coach Chris McGuire. “It’s a huge win for us. It’s part of the piece you need to have to win the title, but there’s a long way to go.”
That’s also how Tecumseh feels, but in a different way. The Arrows played solid defense but struggled offensively. Their top three scorers — senior Donte Clark, junior Malik Quisenberry and freshman Daruis Quisenberry — entered Friday combining for 48 points per game. They combined for 16 at halftime, with 13 coming from Darius Quisenberry.
“We’re shooting 26 percent from the 3-point line and we keep shooting 20-25 shots out there every game and settling for that,” Tecumseh coach Roger Culbertson said. “We have too many guys who can handle the basketball and get it to the hole.”
Shawnee guarded against that Friday. The Braves mixed up their defenses and played primarily man-to-man, but showed some new looks hoping to confuse the Arrows.
“We knew we had to contain their penetration. It seemed to work for us,” McGuire said. “We knew they were up-tempo and we knew offensively they are very good — the best in our conference — and we had to slow them down.”
The Arrows made a final charge in the fourth quarter. Twice Tecumseh (7-6) pulled within a possession of the lead. And twice Shawnee (9-4) answered. The final time came with 4:50 after Tecumseh pulled to 33-30.
The Braves then rattled off a 12-2 run — 10 of the points coming on free throws — to go ahead for good 45-32. The Braves dominated from the free-throw line, hitting 22 of 28 attempts.
Shawnee’s Seth Gray led the Braves with 15 points. Jaden Greenwood and Zach Avery both added 13 points.
Darius Quisenberry led Tecumseh with 13 points, but the Braves held him scoreless in the second half. Malik added 12 points, all coming in the fourth quarter.
Shawnee’s victory helped avenge a 59-47 loss to Tecumseh on Dec. 12. Both teams still have games left with Bellefontaine.
“Right now we need help, but we need to take care of ourselves,” Culbertson said. “We’ve got to worry about ourselves right now before anything else.”