Shiveley 3’s and Browning FT’s lead Peebles to the district championship game –
By Mark Carpenter –
“I threatened him in the first half, told him that if he didn’t shoot then I couldn’t play him.”
Those words came from Peebles head coach Josh Arey after his team’s 59-51 district semi-final win over the Waterford Wildcats on Sunday, March 4 at the Ohio University Convocation Center. Arey was speaking of his senior guard Wade Shiveley who hit the two biggest shots of his career in the win, coming off the bench to nail a pair of clutch three-pointers in the third quarter to help the Indians maintain a lead they never gave up as they advanced to the Division IV district title game for the first time since 2015.
“I was excited and ready to play,” said the 5’9” senior guard. “I was feeling it after I hit the first three.”
It was an exciting come-from-behind win for the Indians, who trailed at the half 25-22, mainly because of an uncharacteristic performance at the free throw line, going just 1 for 7 over the first three quarters, before rebounding down the stretch and nailing 11 from the stripe, including five from sophomore Weston Browning in the final minute to fend off the Wildcats and seal the win for Peebles.
“It was just getting used to the backdrop here at the Convo,” explained Coach Arey. “There’s no wall behind the backboard and it’s different for kids when they first get up here. I think Tanner (are) missed his first four and I don’t think he has missed four free throws since the third grade.”
The Wildcats had a surprise for the Indians, in the form of 6”5” senior Wyatt Lang, who hadn’t appeared on the Peebles scouting reports because he had not played since December because of injury. The Indians had a tough time corralling the physical Webb, who ended up leading the Cats with 16 points in the game.
Nevertheless, it will be the Indians back at the Convo on Saturday in the district title contest, even after a sluggish first half saw them trailing at the break.
On a Blake Smalley stick back Peebles took an early 3-0 lead only to see Waterford score the next six to take a lead they didn’t give up until early in the third quarter. A jumper by Arey and a nice baseline drive and score by Robinson kept the Tribe within striking distance, down just 12-9 after the first quarter.
Waterford began the second frame with a long three-pointer from Travis Pottmeyer and each team scored on their first three offensive possessions with the Indians getting a put back from Blake Hawes, an Arey three ball, and a Robinson bucket to stay within three at 19-16. The two teams swapped buckets the rest of the second period with a bucket by Peebles’ Colten Ball in the final minute leaving the Cats on top by three at the intermission.
Fortunes changed quickly after the break. It was a different Peebles team out of the locker room as they stormed to their first lead since two minutes into the game. Another put back by Hawes got the engine started, and when a Robinson baskets was followed by an Arey steal and layup, the Indians had grabbed a 30-27 advantage. The lead remained at three when the 5’9” Browning fearlessly challenged the 6’5” Lang for a bucket in the paint and then the first Shiveley three from deep on the left wing extended the lead to 35-31 and two minutes later, Shiveley struck again from almost the same spot to push the Peebles lead to 40-35. With 1:19 to go in the third, Ball drove to the hoop for an acrobatic bank shot in traffic and the Indians were going to the final eight minutes with a seven-point advantage, 42-35.
This scrappy Waterford squad wasn’t going down without a fight, even after a browning free throw kept the lead at 47-40 with 3:46 to play. After Lang drained a pair of free throws, Smalley came up with a huge defensive play, literally ripping the ball away from one of the Wildcats and canning a wide-open layup to make it 49-42.
Waterford cut the lead to 49-45 and then the game turned into the Indians running as much clock as possible with every possession and the Cats sending them to the charity stripe. One from the lien by Robinson and two from Browning preceded a three-point goal by Waterford sharpshooter Bryce Hiverding that kept the Cats within 52-48. Atoning for his earlier misses, Arey hit a pair from the line with 1:01 to play, but Hiverding answered with another long trey to make it 54-51 at the 50 second mark, leaving the outcome still very much in doubt, but that turned out to be the final points of the night for the Wildcats.
After the final Hiverding three, Browning hit three of four from the stripe, followed by Robinson canning a pair of freebies, and the celebration began as time ran out on the Cats and the Indians and their faithful began to make plans for a return trip to the Convo after a 59-51 triumph.
“I was feeling a little pressure up there, but we practice free throws every day,” said Browning, who hit 6 of 10 from the line in the final quarter. “It feels really good to be going to the district finals.
“I thought our kids stayed with it and answered the bell and it was just a total team effort, team basketball,” said Coach Arey after the win. “Wade hits those two big threes and I thought all of our bigs played well tonight. This was the biggest, most physical team we had played all year so for our kids to perform like that was a tremendous job.”
“Coach Dave Young told me one time- ‘Don’t take for granted coming up here to the Convo’. I think my first couple of years we got up here and you start to take it for granted. Then you miss it a couple of years in a row and you realize how big and important this is. Like a lot of other things, Coach Young was right.”
In picking up their 19th win of the year compared to just five losses, the Indians were led in scoring by 15 points from Robinson, with Arey also hitting double figures with 13. Weston Browning added 8, with Hawes scoring 7 and Shiveley and Ball getting 6 apiece.
Lang’s 16 led Waterford, who finishes the season at 15-8. Hiverding added 10 as did Pottmeyer.
Now looming for the Indians is a date in the district finals with the Green Bobcats, a 68-66 winner over Trimble in the semis. That game is set for a 2 p.m. tip off on Saturday, March 10 at the Convo.
“Green is going to be a tough match up,” says Coach Arey. “They basically play five guards and we’re going to have to do our homework and watch some film and figure out what we can do to slow them down.”
12 13 10 16 –51
9 13 20 17 –59
Waterford (51): Pyatt 1 0-0 2, Huffman 1 0-0 2, Young 2 0-0 4, Hiverding 3 2-2 10, Stephens 1 3-5 5, Smith 1 0-0 2, Lang 7 2-3 16, Pottmeyer 4 1-2 10, Team 21 8-12 51.
Peebles (59): Shiveley 2 0-0 6, Arey 5 2-6 13, Ball 3 0-1 6, Robinson 6 3-5 15, Hawes 3 1-2 7, Smalley 2 0-0 4, W. Browning 1 6-10 8, Team 22 12-24 59.
Waterford (3): Hiverding 2, Pottmeyer 1
Peebles (3): Shiveley 2, Arey