EGG HARBOR TWP -- Adversity is nothing Shawnee isn’t used to seeing.
The Renegades, who have played without two starters for most of the season, faced a potential difficulty early in the Group 4 semifinal on Friday against Trenton.
While some teams would wilt under the pressure of losing a starter like Connor Deveney to foul trouble, the Renegades shook it off and thrived with Drew Brennan and Ryan Heine coming off the bench.
Although they didn’t score in the first half, the pair of reserves did all the little things right to keep the Shawnee machine moving at high steam on the way to a 51-40 victory.
“They did awesome and stepped up in their roles and they helped the main players to come out with the win,” Shawnee senior Dylan Deveney said.
“They turned up the intensity a lot and we had some subs come in and handled the pressure,” Shawnee senior guard Kane Feudtner said. “A team like Trenton presses the full court for the whole game so you gotta be ready for it.”
Shawnee wasn’t in an offensive rhythm until the second quarter, but it kept Trenton at bay for most of the first half, as the Tornadoes made six field goals over the opening 16 minutes.
As the Renegades pulled away in the fourth quarter, they did so with the help of the bench players, as Heine knocked down a key three-pointer to continue a wave of momentum started by Dylan Deveney.
“You saw Ryan Heine come in in the fourth quarter for me and he hit a big three,” Feudtner said. “Drew comes in and gives us energy. It’s little things that really help during these games.”
As they usually do, Shawnee’s stars rose to the occasion, with the elder Deveney scoring 10 fourth-quarter points, while Daevon Robinson was a force on the boards and Dean Noll steadied the offense with his ball handling.
While each of the contributions from the star players was important, they wouldn’t have been in that position if it wasn’t for Heine and Brennan’s play off the bench.