Shawnee upsets Tippecanoe to reach sectional finals

Shawnee senior guard Trey Miller dribbles by Stebbins’ Jalen Tolbert during a nonconference game on earlier this season. Bryant Billing/Contributed

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Shawnee senior guard Trey Miller dribbles by Stebbins’ Jalen Tolbert during a nonconference game on earlier this season. Bryant Billing/Contributed

An uncharacteristically long season for the Shawnee boys basketball team is now a season the Braves want to see get longer.

“The guys believe,” coach Chris McGuire said.

They believed enough Tuesday night to knock off second-seeded Tippecanoe 43-38 in a Division II sectional second-round game at Springfield High School.

The Braves (11-13), seeded fourth in the seven-team sectional, were 5-12 in late January. McGuire said that was a pivotal time for his team. The Braves pivoted in the right direction to win six of seven and set up another game against CBC rival and top-seeded Urbana. The Braves lost to the Hillclimbers by 12 in the regular-season finale.

The teams meet at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Springfield with a trip to districts on the line.

“I feel like we learned some things from the last time we played them that we can hopefully build on,” McGuire said.

Shawnee beat Tipp (11-13) with a defense that kept the ball out of the lane.

“We’re not going to outscore teams and we realize that,” McGuire said. “So we’ve got to do a good job of locking teams up. And we played great defense.”

Trey Miller led the Braves with 14 points and two 3-pointers. He scored 17 against Graham in the first round after averaging 4.8 points during the season.

The Braves built a 37-26 lead early in the fourth before Tipp stormed back with full-court pressure to get within 41-38 with 23 seconds left. But the Braves made two free throws and the defense held.

Urbana 53, Kenton Ridge 31: Urbana coach Jeremy Dixon made the difficult decision this season that all man-to-man coaches eventually have to make. Play zone.

With three 6-foot-5 starters and lots of long arms, Dixon knew he couldn’t be stubborn. And it’s paying off. The top-seeded Hillclimbers (14-9) took control with a 15-4 third quarter to roll past the Cougars.

“It’s been a process,” Dixon said of the 1-3-1 zone that frustrated the Cougars. “Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. But it’s been good more often than not lately.”

Kenton Ridge (1-22) was coming off its only win Saturday over Indian Lake and made four 3-pointers to stay within 23-17 at halftime.

“Early in the third quarter we had good shots, some wide-open threes, they just didn’t fall,” Cougars coach Kris Spriggs said. “My kids didn’t quit, and we’re fortunate to just even to be here playing. We just couldn’t duplicate our effort we had Saturday night.”

The Hillclimbers took control of the boards on both ends in the second half, and point guard Jace Underwood took control of everything else. He finished with 17 points and found big men inside for some easy baskets.

Riley Emmons added 14 points and Kalen Howell 11 for the Hillclimbers. Jameel Cosby led the Cougars with 16 points.

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