Preble Shawnee’s Shrout & Singleton Shine In Pre-season + A.J. Eller & More

Dayton, Ohio–The Southwestern Buckeye League is looking more and more competitive as time passes. One of the leading causes to this is the addition of one of Ohio’s most praised 2024 prospects.

With the loss of Bellbrook stud, Ryan Chew, the SWBL finds an attractive replacement at the point guard position in Preble Shawnee freshman, Mason Shrout.

Shrout’s high school debut has been long awaited. He’s already been receiving media attention for years:

Fans and followers won’t have to wait any longer. After being sidelined due to having to quarantine, Shrout finally made his first appearance as an arrow.

On November 20th, Shawnee matched up in their third scrimmage, this time against the Brookville Blue Devils. This would be a tenacious first assignment, as Shrout would go head to head with one of the conference’s most respected scorers, ‘21 A.J. Eller. Although Eller and Shrout would be earning an abundance of the viewer’s attention, another elite prospect had proved worthy of the same.

Going into the Brookville scrimmage, Shawnee’s ‘21 Bryce Singleton was coming off a hot, 40 point game in a 27 point win over the CCC’s Ansonia. He also managed to add 10 rebounds and 4 assists.

After stuffing the stat sheet, Singleton stated, “Personally, I don’t look too much into my stats. All that matters is the win.”

He proceeded to say this when asked about the Blue Devils, “Brookville always has a good team. When you scrimmage them, you know they are going to play good fundamental basketball.”

Coming out the gates, both teams traded bucket for bucket, ending in a 12-12 first quarter. But, in the second quarter, even with Shawnee missing three starters and their sixth man due to contact tracing for COVID-19, Ville was having a difficult time on the defensive end of the floor, giving Shawnee a 14-6 run, and a 26-18 lead.

It didn’t help that their main scoring option, Eller, was a bit rusty from behind the arc, starting out the game 2-12 from the field. But, after hitting a few shots and forcing a handful of turnovers through their full court press, Brookville was not only back in the game, but going on a lead bound run.

Brookville’s ’21 AJ Eller being defended by ’23 Will Maxwell (Source: AJ Eller)

Brookville would go on to win four straight quarters, making it 69-48 heading into the 7th and final quarter. Shawnee wouldn’t go down without a fight, going on another 14-6 run in the final quarter. But, it wouldn’t be enough, Brookville ultimately winning 75-62.

Eller led the Devils on the offensive end with at least 17pts, but ultimately the win was due to a team effort on both ends of the floor.

Brookville full court pressed the arrows, and Shrout was primarily having to handle the ball through it. The press forced Shrout to make bad passes in transition, or try dribbling through multiple defenders, resulting in turnovers and points off turnovers. Their 1-2-2 defense in the half-court also seemed to give Shawnee some trouble at times during the game.

On the defensive end, Shawnee gave Eller a lot of easy looks early in the game from behind the arc, but he couldn’t capitalize. As the game went on, Eller seeped more into a playmaking role, while still hitting the occasional three. Even with this rough shooting day, I wouldn’t base my expectations for him on it. I still expect Eller to be one of the most lethal scorers in the SWBL, and have a top ten spot in Dayton’s ppg column.

“We were slow and just not ready it seemed like. So, pressing them gave us a ton of energy and we got easy buckets, leading to our success. I’ve been looking forward to matching up with Shrout, because I’ve heard so much about him. He’s got a nice game and is going to be a problem for the league for a long time. My shot wasn’t falling all night, but my coaches and teammates believe in me and I trust my team. I tried getting them involved and they started hitting shots, taking the pressure off of me.”

AJ Eller

Teammate, ‘21 Daniel Dominique works well in the mid-range, and is a huge supplement to the Devils’ defense, chipping in 6 rebounds, 5 steals, and a block.

Senior, Jack Stanoikovich proved to be effective from deep range, consistently knocking down shots around the arc. Don’t be surprised if he’s considered one of the conferences’ best shooters by the end of the season.

Preble Shawnee also managed to heavily impress me. Shrout stuck out as an incredible passer. He makes his teammates better on the offensive end. He has good height, and great length, sometimes using it to block shots. He comes off as an aggressive scorer and playmaker as well, especially for a freshman.

There were times when Shrout could’ve better managed Shawnee’s offensive pace and tempo. Often, his off-ball, and sometimes even on-ball defense came off as lackluster. But, Stamina could’ve easily been to blame though, being consistently forced to play through Ville’s full court press, having to then make a play in the half court, defending Eller’s quickness, and working with a small rotation.

But, it also has to be remembered that this is his first high school scrimmage and still has so much time to grow! It’s just a matter of time, depending on his progression, but I believe Mason Shrout’s on his way to become the best point guard in the SWBL.

“My mindset going into the scrimmage wasn’t to go score a huge amount. It was more that I need to find my angle on the team, understand my role, and figure out which position I need to be in to win games.”

Mason Shrout

Another impressive force to be reckon with was Bryce Singleton with 20+ points, 15 rebounds, and almost double digit assists. His last set of scrimmages, he’s performed not as a double double machine, but a triple double machine!

He can not only score, not only rebound, but his playmaking ability also surprised me. He consistently squares up with his defender, working well in the triple threat. He showed the ability to knock down shots, but his play suggested he’s not afraid of contact to the point where he seemed more attracted to it, resulting in multiple and-ones.

Singleton’s on track to be an SWBL player of the year candidate, hands down.

‘21 Xavier Adams illustrated his capability of stretching the floor, knocking down multiple threes in a row late in the game to not only put the Arrows on a run, but give his teammates a much needed increase in energy if they wanted to take this scrimmage.

‘23 Dylan Campbell is a name to learn. The sophomore showed his scrappiness, crashing the boards, turning in a handful of easy buckets off cuts, and forcing a few turnovers.

Shawnee contributors, Dylan Hatmaker, Anthony Monebrake, Bryant Morton, and Ethan Woodard were all unfortunately absent for the scrimmage. All four will return for their first official game on November 27th.

It wasn’t only the performances that made this game captivating at times, but essentially the spirit at which both teams play with.

Brookville’s team chemistry, Shawnee’s grit and grind, Eller & Singleton’s intensity . . . it all made the game that much more mesmerizing.

Even though it was a scrimmage, you wouldn’t have been able to tell. Both squads’ emotions and energy represented as if it was an elimination game in the postseason!

This won’t be the last time these two programs receive our coverage. Brookville dueled with the GWOC’s Northmont on November 23rd in a scrimmage. While tonight, Preble Shawnee clashes in their first regular season game with arguably their toughest assignment yet, the Oakwood Lumberjacks.

Two immense match-ups will take place. Bryce Singleton will go head to head with a top five sophomore in the city, Will Maxwell. Adjacently, Mason Shrout will be challenged by Oakwood’s newest addition and one of the SWBL’s purest athletes, ‘22 Keon Wright.

According to Shrout, “It’s not going to be an easy game. Oakwood’s loaded, but this year we have a crazy amount of chemistry already. We’ve all found our roles. We have the talent and skill to beat them. We just have to execute plays, sit down, and play good defense. We have to keep a mild composer throughout the whole game.”

You can tune into the game via live stream at 7:45pm with the link below. Best of luck to both teams!

Missed out on the Preble Shawnee vs Brookville scrimmage? Watch it on demand below!

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