SARAHSVILLE -- Shenandoah High racked up its sixth consecutive victory on Tuesday, winning by a 60-52 margin to complete a season sweep of visiting Barnesville.
Coach Dan Schwieterman's Zeps (7-2) saw senior Cody Johnson and junior Wes Rataiczak lead the way, with Shenandoah also providing dead-eye at the free throw line by hitting 18-of-20 attempts in repeating an earlier 64-59 win over the Shamrocks (5-4).
Shenandoah turned a 7-3 deficit into an 8-7 lead on a jumper by Johnson and a three-pointer by junior Dalton Doudna, but Barnesville got a lay-up off a steal by Dalton Smith for a 9-8 lead at the first quarter break.
The 'Rocks got consecutive "triples" from Kody Skinner and Colby MacMillan to open the second round, pushing the lead to 15-8, but five points from senior Eric Bates and a jumper by Rataiczak pulled the Zeps even at 15-all by the 5:20 juncture.
Barnesville extended to a five-point edge again at 22-17 on a MacMillan "trey," but Rataiczak scored nine more points the rest of the way to complete an 11-point quarter and put Shenandoah on top, 29-25, at the half.
The Zeps opened the second half with a 9-2 spurt to widen the gap to 11 (38-27), with Johnson scoring twice and Doudna drilling another "three" in the run. Barnesville closed with a 5-2 edge to pare the gap to eight, 40-32, heading to the fourth period.
Two buckets by Johnson opened the final frame and made it a 12-point affair and the closest Barnesville got was six, 56-50, with a minute to go as the Zeps made the most of their free throw opportunities down the stretch -- knocking down 12-of-12 in the quarter to seal the victory.
Shenandoah's Schwieterman credited his team's defensive effort and its patience on offense for the outcome.
"Defensively, we played much, much better than we did against them the first time," he stated. "We gave up 21 shots in the 'paint' the last time, but we kept the ball out of there tonight and did a better job rebounding, too.
"Offensively, we took our time against their 1-3-1 defense and passed the ball around until we got some easy shots," he added.
Barnesville coach Chris Pack felt Shenandoah's physical play and his team's offensive inconsistency were the key.
"The guard play was physical and that makes it hard to run any offense," the Shamrocks' coach related. "They turned it into a football game in the second quarter and it takes us a while to adjust to that. They got just about half of their points in the second quarter on second-chance buckets.
"We've got to do a better job creating offense in the first and third quarters," said Pack. "Sometimes when we concentrate on defense, our offense goes in the tank. We just need a little more consistency offensively. We got good 'looks'...they just didn't go for us tonight."
Johnson and Rataiczak led the Zeps with 20 and 19 points, respectively. Doudna chipped in 14 tallies and Bates had seven as only four players scored for the winners. Rataiczak had seven rebounds, Johnson six and Bates five; Tyson Dimmerling had four assists and senior Adam Yniguzez had three while Johnson recorded three steals.
SHS hit 20-of-47 field goal attempts; had 27 rebounds and just eight turnovers.
Barnesville got 20 points from MacMillan, with Smith and Bryson Stephen each scoring 10. Stephen led all rebounders with 13; Smith had five assists and three steal and Skinner had three assists.
The 'Rocks were 17-of-40 from the field; had 28 rebounds and 12 miscues.