By MIKE PALMER
For The Intelligencer
NEW PHILADELPHIA - Shadyside made the first bucket look easy as Shane Johnson took the feed in the paint, pivoted around the Tuscarawas Central Catholic defender and put his team up 2-0 with a wide open jumper.
From there, however, it was all Saints.
Tuscarawas Central turned up the defensive tenacity and made life extremely tough on the Tigers en route to a 54-34 victory inside New Philadelphia High School during a Division IV sectional co-final.
While the loss ends the Tigers' season at 12-12, the Saints advance to face IVC-rival Hiland, which beat Frontier in the opener, Wednesday evening in the district tournament at Meadowbrook High School in Byesville.
During the season, Shadyside made a living shooting the ball from behind the 3-point line. Tuscarawas Central was prepared to defend that.
"We went 4 of 12 in the entire first half and missed all four of our threes ," Shadyside coach Ed Andes said. "We only got off 12 shots and scored eight points in an entire first half."
Half of those eight points came later in the first quarter on two Zach Frizzi jumpers. From there, the Tigers went into hibernation.
Saints' junior Michael Teater got a pair of buckets late in the first quarter to give the Saints the lead. Mitch Herron took over in the second quarter netting a trio of treys to put his team ahead for good.
"We knew they had two fairly good players and we wanted to concentrate on them, defensively," Andes said. "You look at the book and you can see both of them scored 16 points."
The result of the Saints' top players catching fire and Shadyside's offensive woes was a 25-8 deficit for the Belmont Countians at the half.
"We did not hit a three until I brought in the players off the bench," Andes said. "It was over by then."
Frizzi lead the Tigers with six points.
Shadyside managed 18 rebounds, including five offensive. The Tigers turned it over 23 times. Shadyside made good on 13 of 31 shots and a perfect 4-4 on foul shots, all coming in the second half.
Herron and Teater both scored 16 points while Alex Milleman added 10 points for Tusky Catholic.