Preble Shawnee advances to Elite 8 with win over Tri-Village

Preble Shawnee is amped up late in the game celebrating a big steal and possession from senior Case Roell who gets a bear hug from Mason Shrout. (Dale Barger photo)

KETTERING – Preble Shawnee for the 2nd year in a row advance to the Elite 8 by defeating WOAC rival Tri-Village for the 2nd time this year 57-48 in an OHSAA DIII Regional Semi-Final game.

The Arrows overcame a 12-point 1st half deficit and then pulled away late in the 4th quarter on a backbreaking and one by Mason Shrout and then finished strong at the free throw line where they shot 18-of-20 for the game.

For the 2nd year in a row Tri-Village bowed out in the Regional Semi-finals but also surpassed expectations by competing for a WOAC title and winning their 4th straight district title in a row … and just 3-years ago they were playing in a State Championship game.

The fact that the WOAC has had two teams competing in the regionals for a 2nd year in a row is a strong showing for the conference which now all can get behind Preble Shawnee in their quest to win a Regional Title and advance to the State Final Four.

Preble Shawnee had to start the game without junior Isaac Blankenship who injured his foot last week taking away their go to defensive stopper and 2nd leading scorer.

Filling the gap on defense was senior Case Roell who would make Blankenship proud as he was assigned to slow down Patriots leading scorer Trey Sagester holding him to two points in the 1st half and 12 in the game.

Preble Shawnee got out on top 5-0 to start before Tri-Village answered on back-to-back triples and the two teams would battle to an 11-11 tie to end the 1st quarter.

In the quarter senior Braden Keating connected on 3 triples for Tri-Village, while Brayden Robinette hit a triple, Mason Shrout and Logan Hawley each had 4 points.

Tri-Village senior Braden Keating had the hot-hand making 6 triples in the game. (Dale Barger photo)

The Patriots slowed the pace in the 2nd quarter, rather than contend with 6’8” Logan Hawley in the middle they went 4 corners to pull Hawley out and get some driving lanes.

Tri-Village executed very well with a lay-up from Noah Finkbine and back-to-back drives to the rim by Tanner Printz including an and one to put the Patriots on top 18-11.

Hawley finally answered at the 5-minute mark with a fielder getting it to 18-13 before Tri-Village continued to find ways to score inside with Printz adding two more lay-ups and Keating a triple to forge ahead 25-13 with .30 seconds to play in the 1st half.

The Patriots spread the floor and Tanner Printz took advantage scoring 9 of his 15 points in the 2nd period. (Dale Barger photo)

Preble Shawnee Brody Morton would hit a triple out of the corner to cut away the largest lead by the Patriots of 12 points … but on the ensuing trip up the floor Patriots coach Josh Sagester was assessed a technical foul questioning an official for a non-call on his player going to the ground causing a turnover.

On the technical coach Josh Sagester was somewhat caught off guard but felt like he needed to support his player.

“I thought my kid got fouled. And you know, I’m going to protect my kids as far as the technical goes you know, it’s part of the game, and then they hit the three at the end of the half after our turnover and that a five-point swing,” Sagester said.

Mason Shrout promptly connected on both tosses that was followed by a second big triple from Brayden Robinette in the 1st half cutting the lead to 25-21 and creating a huge swing of momentum heading into the break.

Preble Shawnee coach Jake Turner was breathing a sigh of relief with the way his team ended the first half.

“They got the lead and kind of brought us out holding it a little bit and I didn’t want to sit there and just let them hold on for a couple minutes, we tried to come out guard him and we didn’t do a good job with that in the first half.  When they get a lead, they’re usually really good, they do a good job, they’re a good team and coach Josh does a great job,” Turner explained.

“Just for our guys, you know, who kind of struggled in that first half … but they stay together grinding it out with that run going into halftime,” Turner commented.

“We felt a lot better, you know, we made some adjustments and felt like we were getting into them towards the end and caused some issues by speeding them up and seeing if they could handle the pressure,” Coach Turner stated.

Tri-Village answered the bell to start the 3rd quarter with Trey Sagester launching deep and drawing a foul going to the ground that turned into a 4-point play to start 29-21.

Trey Sagester on a 4-point play got the PATS rolling early in the 3rd quarter before the Arrows began clawing back. (Dale Barger photo)

But the Arrows began picking up and applying more pressure up top and TV failed to score for a few trips and Shawnee capitalized tying the game at 31 on a Morton corner triple at 4:34.

They then wrestled the lead away on a Shrout 3-point jumper and held a 34-33 lead heading into the 4thquarter.

Shawnee pounded the ball into Hawley to start for a bucket and got another Morton jumper in the corner and now lead 39-35.   Shrout then was fouled on a fade-away jumper leading to two free throws and a 41-35 lead with 4:45 to go.

Brody Morton hit some big shots when the Arrows need it including this triple. (Dale Barger photo)

But the Patriots didn’t go away after a free throw and the 5th of 6 triples by Keating closed the gap to 41-39.

Earlier in the day Mason Shrout was named a finalist for Ohio Mr. Basketball, the next play he made would be a classic example of why he would be a candidate.

Shrout rose up for a triple and at the same time contorted his body contacting a Patriot defender all while maintaining his focus to make the shot while drawing a foul, turning it into a 4-point play expanding their lead 45-39 with just under 2:30 to play.


Shrout with the play of the game draws contact on this made triple and converted a 4-point play at a critical time in the game. (Dale Barger photo)

Shrout took the play in stride.

“You know, me being 6’5” coming off a ball screen like that from a 6’8” guy that can roll, they got to decide, are they going to stick with the roller or they’re going to pop out?  Well, I was able to rise up … and I would say I was looking for a little bit of contact, got it and the shot went in,” Shrout smiled.  “I would like to say that I work on that … but it was just the grace of God being on my side that I was able to make the shot in that sort of atmosphere and the timing was awesome,” Shrout added.

It’s the type of winning play he has been making for 4 years at Preble Shawnee and why he has over 2000 career points, 1000 rebounds and the school assist record.

The play was a big momentum boost for Shawnee while deflating the Patriots.

Coach Turner weighed in on the play as well.

“It was a huge play, you know, he’s a gamer, a winner, a big-time player, making big time plays at big time moments,” Turner praised.

Mason Shrout is used to taking the difficult shots and has come up big when needed. (Dale Barger photo)

It would be just enough to keep the Patriots at bay and for Shawnee to take care of business at the free throw line with freshman Knox Mills making 5-of-6 down the stretch on their way to a 57-48 win advancing to the Regional Finals.

Although, the Patriots came up short in this one they had nothing to hang their head about and got a spectacular performance from their seniors in their last game which coach Josh Sagester talked about.

Tanner Prince scored 15 points while playing solid defense on Shrout in the 1st half … but fouled out in the 2nd half.

“Prince is a three-year varsity kid, two-year starter and I’m really proud of his effort tonight, he’s been a really good player in our program, on and off the court. He’s handled the ball quite a bit for us the last two years and his contributions will be missed.

Braden Keating scored 18 points on 6 triples and played solid defense and Sagester had this to say.

“I’ve known him for a long time, he’s a great kid, comes from a good family.  A tough kid, who gave a lot to our program over the last four years, he’s a tremendous young man and  had some really big games, and I’m really happy for him tonight that he was able to come through and make some big plays and it’s something you always remember.

“Reed Wehr is a phenomenal young man, a great teammate, a kid that worked really hard every single day and really accepted his role  and was elite in his role and of course, you know, a tremendous football player and a terrific kid,” Sagester stated.

“Jayden Hollinger I’ve known for a long time is an outstanding young man, kind of our unsung post player that worked hard guarding in the post all night long and did a great job while giving up a lot of inches, he went hard in practice you know, and a great locker room kid and comes from a really good family,” Sagester exclaimed.

“All my kids come from good families. All my kids who have been in the program, it’s tough to tell them in the locker room after a game like this it’s over.  One team wins and the other team walks away … but I love those four kids and I’m really going to miss them and appreciate what they brought to our program,” Coach Sagester concluded.

Preble Shawnee season continues notwithstanding the Shrout heroics of 19 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists, the Arrows had contributions across the board from others as well.

Logan Hawley 12 points, Brody Morton 11, Brayden Robinette 8, Knox Mills 7 and although Case Roell didn’t score it was his contributions of holding Trey Sagester 10 points below his average that helped the team.

Logan Hawley’s presence in the paint and ability to score at the rim was key for the Arrows in win over Tri-Village. (Dale Barger photo)

Shrout had big moments in the game, but he was also quick to point out that it was a complete effort by the whole team that is responsible for their success.

“Our coaching staff does an amazing job of just getting me open. So, we run 1000s of sets to give me the ball. So, I really don’t have to press as much. I really don’t have to force much, and my teammates do an incredible job of getting me the ball when I’m open, and my teammates do an incredible job of hitting shots when they’re open. This is just a blessing. This group, this group is outstanding. They work hard, coming to practice every day with a great mindset wanting to get better. And I mean, I couldn’t ask for a better group to play with,” Shrout concluded.

But there is unfinished business for the Arrows as they now set site on a Regional Championship and a State Final Four which would be the 1st in school history.

They will take on Versailles a 68-43 winner over Cincinnati Mariemont on Saturday, 7 pm at Kettering Trent Arena.

The Preble Shawnee Fans support has swelled over the last couple of years and they are witnessing a history making team as they make their way to the Regional Finals. (Dale Barger photo)