KETTERING — The ending is never easy.
But, the Miami East boys basketball team battled to the end in a 50-40 loss to Preble Shawnee in a D-III regional semifinal Wednesday at Trent Arena.
East finishes the season with a 24-3 record, while the Arrows are 23-3 and will play Harvest Prep for the regional title Saturday.
“It is always disappointing when the season ends,” Miami East coach Justin Roeth said. “We had a great year. We just couldn’t make any shots tonight.”
The Vikings had jumped to an early 5-0 lead when Mitchel Kemp scored off a Connor Apple assist and Wes Enis hit a 3-pointer.
But, it was a struggle to score the rest of the night as the Vikings soon were playing from behind and never regained the lead.
“Before we even took the floor, we talked about needing to make plays,” Roeth said. “And we just weren’t able to do that tonight. We didn’t shoot the ball well, but we didn’t take good shots either.”
Despite that, East battled its way back into the game in the second half after trailing 24-15 at halftime.
The Vikings were trailing 25-17 early in the third quarter when they scored five straight points to make it 25-22.
Bryce Haught made one of two free throws, Devon Abshire hit a pair of free throws and Haught had a putback to force a Preble Shawnee timeout with four minutes remaining in the third quarter.
A 3-pointer by Apple late in the third quarter closed the Vikings to within 29-26, before Josh Miller hit two free throws for the Arrows to make it 31-26 going to the fourth quarter.
East scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to make it 31-30.
Jacob Roeth hit two free throws and had a dish to Haught for two more points.
But Mason Shrout hit a 3-pointer to make it 34-30.
“When we got within one, I felt like it was going to go back and forth the rest of the way,” Roeth said. “I thought we were in a position to have a chance to win down the stretch. But, that 3-pointer really hurt. That gave them a lot of momentum.”
Enis scored to make it 34-32, but the Arrows would score the next six points and pull away.
Shrout, the Southwest District Player of the Year, scored 15 points and had six rebounds for Shawnee — but Enis frustrated him all game as he hit just three of 11 jobs.
“I thought Wes (Enis) played great defense,” Roeth said. “And Jacob (Roeth) was giving him help.”
But, 6-foot-6 Logan Hawley was a tough matchup for the Vikings.
He finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds.
“We said before the game he was going to be the wild card for them,” Roeth said. “And he was.”
Isaac Blankenship added six points and Brayden Robinette had five rebounds.
Enis led the Vikings with 12 points and 14 rebounds.
Roeth had eight points and four assists and Apple scored six points.
Haught had five points and Abshire pulled down five rebounds.
East was 12 of 45 from the floor for 27 percent, including five of 21 from 3-point range for 24 percent. The Vikings made 11 of 17 free throws for 65 percent.
Shawnee was 12 of 43 from the floor for 28 percent, including one of seven from long range for 14 percent. The Arrows made 25 of 32 free throws for 78 percent.
East won the battle of the boards 37-36 and had 12 turnovers to Shawnee’s eight.
“We lost three games by a total of 18 points,” Roeth said. “This felt like a closer game. It has been a great season.”
Which is why it was so hard to see it end.
You can reach Sports Editor Rob Kiser at [email protected]