Centerville, Ohio — Botkins held on to survive against Springfield Shawnee at the Elk Elite Showcase hosted by Centerville High School. Both Patrick Fultz and Zion Crowe scored 20 points but the Braves fell to the Pleiman brothers and Botkins in an electric early season matchup.
After a historic state title run last season, the expectations for Botkins are still very high despite losing head coach Sean Powell and guard Jayden Priddy-Powell. The Trojans have lived up to those expectations so far as they haven’t had a contest within single digits heading into Sunday. They boast a perfect 6-0 (4-0, SCAL) record thus far.
As for Shawnee, the Braves are fresh off of a season where they won their first district title in 44 years. The junior duo of Zion Crowe and R.J. Griffin has led Springfield Shawnee to an undefeated 5-0 (3-0, CBC) record to start the season.
Shawnee junior Zion Crowe
Botkins started off the game red hot from three as Jameson Meyer and Jaydon Wendel each knocked down a pair of triples. Zion Crowe scored Shawnee’s first 7 points but the Braves still trailed 21-14 at the conclusion of the opening quarter.
Patrick Fultz brought Shawnee back into the game with a quick three and a nice drive to the hoop. And despite solid first halves from Zion Crowe and R.J. Griffin, Shawnee still trailed 36-28 at halftime. Botkins big man Jacob Pleiman led the way with 16 points in the first half as Pleiman dominated in the interior.
Botkins senior Jacob Pleiman
R.J. Griffin and Mason Griffith exploded to open the second half and then Zion Crowe was able to give Shawnee their first lead of the half with his corner three. Jaydon Wendel’s three gave Botkins a six point lead but Patrick Fultz kept Shawnee in the game. The senior drove to the hoop for a score and then hit a step back three.
Shawnee senior Patrick Fultz
A steal from Zane Mercer led to transition basket from Crowe to give the Braves back the lead. Jacob Pleiman’s layup at the buzzer went in and out as Botkins and Shawnee were tied at 47-47 heading into the fourth quarter.
Jameson Meyer and Patrick Fultz exchanged corner threes before R.J. Griffin gave Shawnee a 4 point lead off of a nice move to the basket. Then Wendel hit another three for Botkins. The Trojans were able to get a stop and Jacob Pleiman made a beautiful pass to Dylan Topp down low to give Botkins a 55-54 lead.
Botkins senior Jameson Meyer
Carter Pleiman extended the lead to 57-54 with a layup but then R.J. Griffin made his biggest shot of the night with a huge game tying three at the top of the key. After almost turning the ball over, Jacob Pleiman passed it to his brother Carter before he dumped it off to Dylan Topp down low. Topp was able to secure positioning inside and give Botkins back the lead.
With 30 seconds left, Zion Crowe drove to the hoop and then kicked it out to Zane Mercer. Mercer’s corner three attempt barely missed. Botkins was able to secure the rebound and Shawnee was forced to foul which sent Jameson Meyer to the free throw line.
The senior calmly knocked down a huge pair of free throws to extend the lead to 61-57 with just 7 seconds remaining. Crowe’s three at the buzzer missed to the right as Botkins held on to stay unbeaten and they handed Shawnee their first loss of the season.
It’s hard to find a better early season matchup than this as the Elk Elite Showcase lived up to the hype. Jacob Pleiman led Botkins in scoring with 18 points as he controlled the paint in the first half. Some elite shooting from Jameson Meyer who ended with 14 points and Jaydon Wendel who finished with 12 points was the difference in this contest.
Botkins senior Jacob Pleiman
Shawnee came up just short but both Patrick Fultz and Zion Crowe finished with at least 20 points as Fultz had the game high 21 points off of 5 threes and Crowe ended the night with 20 points.
Shawnee will fall to 5-1 on the year as they’ll look to bounce back next week against conference foe Benjamin Logan. The Braves will then travel to Newark for a pair of games to end off the year. Botkins will face Fairlawn and Marion Local to close out 2021.