By Phil Anastasia
As the last shot floated through the air and the buzzer sounded, both coaches thought the same thing: It's good.
"I've seen that kid make that shot more than once," Winslow coach Norm Ingram said of the running three-point attempt by the Eagles' standout senior, Masner Beauplan.
Down the court, Shawnee's Joe Kessler was feeling things were familiar, too.
"The way our season has been going, I thought that shot was going in," Kessler said.
Both coaches were surprised and Shawnee's players were pumped when the ball kicked the back of the rim and the host Renegades emerged with a 48-46 victory over the Eagles in an Olympic Conference Patriot Division game on Monday afternoon.
"It's a great feeling," Shawnee junior Alec Warren said. "We're the underdogs in every game so when we can get an upset win, there's a lot of joy."
Warren (pictured) scored 18 on six three-pointers, snapping a 40-40 tie with a deep jumper with a little more than three minutes to play, for Shawnee (3-11 overall, 2-2 in the division).
Beauplan, a slick guard who entered the game as South Jersey's leading scorer with a 24.5 average, generated 25 points with two assists and two steals for Winslow Township (5-9, 1-3).
"'Mas' is consisistent, but our inexperience with the other guys really showed," Ingram said. "They (Shawnee) did a good job, running their stuff. We've got some young guys who are just not confident around the rim. They're learning."
This season has been a learning experience for both teams. Shawnee, one of South Jersey's most accomplished programs, has taken its lumps with a young squad that included no returning starters for the first time in Kessler's 26 seasons.
The Renegades opened with 11 losses in their first 12 games, including three close setbacks that still have Kessler shaking his head. But the victory over Winslow was Shawnee's second in a row -- a mini-streak that has the players feeling better about themselves.
"It's been frustrating but everybody has been working hard," Warren said. "It's good momentum for these next tough games coming up. We're still trying to grind out wins and turn this season around."
Beauplan, who made six three-pointers, tied the score at 40-40 with a pair of free throws midway in the fourth quarter.
But Warren drilled a deep 'three' to give Shawnee the lead for good at 43-40. Sophomore forward Dean Austin (12 points, five rebounds) added a hoop, and senior Paul Chiusano made a short jumper off a feed from Warren for a 47-40 lead with two minutes, 13 seconds to play.
Winslow scrambled back as Elijah Campell scored off a rebound and added a free throw and Beauplan made three free throws.
Holding a 48-46 lead, Shawnee missed the front end of a one-and-one at the 0:05 mark.
After a timeout, Beauplan raced downcourt and got a clean look on a runner from just above the top of the key.
Both coaches thought it was in. But it was Shawnee that celebrated.
"We're been staying positive," Warren said. "After every loss, we get right back out there. We're always positive, always think we're going to win.
"I can see right now we're getting a lot better, the young guys are getting a lot better. We've got better things to come."
Winslow 5 13 18 10 -- 46
Shawnee 11 10 14 13 -- 48
W: Masner Beauplan 25, Mike Cubbage 4, Devon Jones 2, Elijah Campbell 3, Jaquan Hawkins 2, Ramire Artis 2, Devon Robinson 8.
S: Mike Shinske 3, Alec Warren 18, Luke Cooper 3, Dean Austin 12, Sam Portner 2, Eric Aita 3, Paul Chiusano 7.
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