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Last-minute heroics send Shawnee to district championship game

Mar. 8—FINDLAY — Half the gym was thinking, "Miss it, miss it," and the other 50 percent was hoping Parker Woods' shot would be good.

It hit the front of the rim as time ran out, which allowed Shawnee to survive with a 49-48 victory over Napoleon in a Division II boys basketball district semifinal at Liberty-Benton High School on Thursday night.

That win put Shawnee (18-6) into a district championship game against St. Marys (18-6) on Saturday night at Liberty-Benton.

"From my angle, that shot looked good. I was praying the whole way. I was just proud of the defensive effort there," Shawnee coach Mark Triplett said.

That defensive effort capped a wild 32 minutes of basketball in which Napoleon led by as many as eight points in the first half, Shawnee led by the same margin with seven minutes to play, but the game still came down the final minute and the final shot.

Shawnee got the eventual game-winning points when Beckett Bertke followed a missed shot with an offensive rebound for a bucket with 42 seconds to play.

After a Napoleon turnover and a Shawnee turnover, the Wildcats' Zane Peckinpaugh missed a 3-pointer but Napoleon rebounded it and called timeout.

During that timeout, Shawnee set up its defense to try to keep the two players who led Napoleon in scoring — Caden Kruse, who had 15 points, and Trey Rubenstein who had 12 points — from getting the ball.

"We knew Kruse and Rubenstein are their go-to guys were going to try to get the basketball and attack the basket. I thought we did a good job of keeping them on the perimeter," Triplett said.

Kruse had given Napoleon the lead twice in the final four minutes. After the first time, Dominic Lynch scored to put Shawnee back in the lead at 47-46. With a minute left in the game, Kruse hit two free throws to put Napoleon in front, 48-47.

Beckett Bertke led Shawnee with 23 points and Trevick Bertke scored 12 points, including three 3-pointers.

Shawnee had a 43-35 lead with seven minutes left in the game, but it took less than two minutes for all of that lead to disappear.

The biggest problem for Shawnee then was also its biggest problem much of the second half when it had 10 turnovers in 13 possessions in one stretch.

"It's going to be awfully hard to win basketball game when you do that. They were putting some pressure on us. I thought we got a little bit jumpy," Triplett said.

"We got some travel calls that didn't go our way. For the most part I thought we responded well on the defensive end. When they took the lead twice in the fourth quarter we came right back down and got buckets," he said.

Shawnee 49, Napoleon 48

Score by quarters:

Shawnee 10 16 12 11 — 49

Napoleon 14 14 7 13 — 48

SHAWNEE

Beckett Bertke 23, Dominic Lynch 9, Alex Goldsberry 2, Nick Pasion 3, Trevick Bertke 12. Totals: 20-3-49.

NAPOLEON

Kellen Ressler 7, Trey Rubenstein 12, Parker Woods 3, Zane Peckinpaugh 9, Caden Kruse 15, Zeke Belmares 2. Totals: 19-3-48.

Three-point goals: T. Bertke 3, Pasion 1, B. Bertke 1, Lynch 1; N — Kruse 2, Rubenstein 2, Ressler 1, Woods 1, Peckinpaugh 1.

Records: Shawnee 18-6; Napoleon 16-9.