‘Unbelievable’ Hawley powers Preble Shawnee into regional final for first time in 49 years

KETTERING — When Preble Shawnee coach Jake Turner talked about 6-foot-8 junior Logan Hawley after Wednesday night’s Division III regional semifinal he kept saying “unbelievable.”

This you can believe: Hawley played the game of his life with a double-double to lead the Arrows to a 50-40 victory over Miami East and into a regional final for the first time since 1974. To make it to the state tournament for the first time, the Arrows (23-3) must defeat 2019 champion Canal Winchester Harvest Prep at 7 p.m. Saturday at Trent Arena.

“We looked around our locker room and said there’s only one guy in here that was born that day,” Turner said. “It was Coach [John] Thomas.”

Hawley was a throwback big man. He scored 18 points, made 7 of 12 shots, grabbed 18 rebounds, blocked three shots and altered too many more to count.

“What a night – unbelievable,” Turner said. “He dominated both ends of the court.”

Everyone talked about Hawley.

“The real MVP tonight is Logan Hawley,” said Arrows junior Mason Shrout, the Southwest District player of the year in Division III. “He stepped up huge. He played like he was 6-8 tonight. He blew me away.”

Miami East (24-3) didn’t play anyone over 6-3, and coach Justin Roeth knew Hawley’s size could be a factor.

“We felt like if he scores anywhere from 10 to 15, it might be the wild card,” Roeth said. “He didn’t only score around the basket, but he also protected the basket on the defensive end and had several blocks.”

Turner said he told Hawley to go out and dominate. And assistant coach Austun Shanefelt told him the same thing.

“He was talking to me the whole day, saying that nobody could stop me,” Hawley said. “Every time I did something good, he stood up and started clapping for me, and I think that he motivated me a lot today. And my parents, my grandparents, everybody, all my family in the crowd, the loud crowd just all cheering for me. It just really made me want to go out there and just dominate.”

The Arrows led 24-15 at halftime, but Miami East cut the lead to 31-30 early in the third. The Arrows responded and kept the lead, stretching it out in the final two minutes when Shrout, who scored 15 points on 3-of-11 shooting, made six free throws to put the game out of East’s reach.

“Just the feeling of walking into the locker room after this, there’s no other feeling like it,” Hawley said. “The first time in 49 years that Preble Shawnee’s won a regional semifinal, and I couldn’t be more proud to do what I did tonight for this game.”

The challenge of Harvest Prep will be handling a defense that put Tri-Village through a nightmare of turnovers in the first semifinal.

“We turn it over that much, we’re not going to win,” Turner said. “We’ve got to take care of the ball. We’ve got to make some shots. We’ve got to play at our pace.”

Canal Winchester Harvest Prep: 54, Tri-Village 45: Harvest’s quick feet and fast hands were not foreign to the Patriots. They saw that style in last year’s Division IV state final loss to Richmond Heights.

Head coach Josh Sagester knew exactly what was necessary to win in Wednesday night’s Division III semifinal. They couldn’t turn over the basketball at a rapid rate. But they did – 28 times.

“We had to dribble, pass and defensive rebound,” he said. “I thought we did a pretty good job on the boards, but we struggled to dribble and pass tonight. We got a little fatigued, and sometimes when your mind goes, your body goes.”

Impossible to simulate in practice, Sagester put together a difficult nonconference schedule that included Dunbar, Belmont, Parkersburg South, W.Va., and Hamilton Badin. He said Dunbar was most like Harvest Prep.

“Our schedule was pretty daunting and hopefully was going to put us in position mentally to be prepared for that,” he said. “We weren’t.”

The first four minutes proved to be fool’s gold for the Patriots (21-6). They jumped to a 10-3 lead. Then the live-ball turnovers came like an avalanche of bad luck. The Warriors (21-6) forced 17 first-half turnovers to take over and lead 30-16 at halftime. The lead reached 41-20 in the second half before the Patriots rallied, but it was far too late.

The Patriots’ turnovers led to 28 Harvest points. The Patriots were led in scoring by Wilson Suggs with 15 points, but they shot only 38%.

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