Boys Basketball: Byron nips P-E-M in OT to win section

Byron's Jack Nelson and PEM's Alex McGuire chase a loose ball during their section 1AA championship Thursday night at the Mayo Civic Center Taylor Arena.

Initially it looked like Byron's first section title would come in a breeze. Then it looked like the Bears might have to wait for another season. And finally, Byron won the Section One, Class AA boys basketball title in thrilling fashion on Thursday.

The Bears won the 1AA title with a 57-54 overtime victory over Plainview-Elgin-Millville at Mayo Civic Center.

Byron led 30-16 over P-E-M in the first half. P-E-M, led by junior Nick Shanks, roared back and took a 39-37 lead early in the second half. After that the game was heart-pounding the rest of the way and both teams had a chance to win at the end.

"There were highs and lows in the game," Byron senior center Brandon Schubert said. "We made the plays when we needed them."

"It was disappointing," first-year P-E-M coach Blake Karas said. "We just didn't start out very well."


There were plenty of thrills in the closing minutes and seconds of both regulation and overtime.

Shanks provided the last big bucket of regulation. The 6-foot-4 forward drained a 3-pointer from the corner with 1:23 left in regulation to tie the game 50-50. Shanks, who finished with 25 points, had also hit a 3-pointer at the end of regulation in the Section 1AA East finals to send the game with Caledonia into overtime.

"We weathered the storm," Byron coach Kerry Linbo said. "And Shanks is always tough."

Both Byron and the Bulldogs had possessions in the final minute of regulation, but neither could score.

The teams traded points in the OT as guard Alex Slawson, who played stellar defense on Buster Meyer, had a rebound bucket for P-E-M and Jack Nelson hit two free throws for Byron.

Schubert then hit one of two free throws to put Byron up 53-52 with 49.8 seconds remaining in OT. Logan Sexton answered with 25 seconds left to put P-E-M back up 54-53.

Byron quickly moved the ball down court and the 6-6 Schubert rebounded a missed 3-pointer and scored to give the Bears a 55-54 lead.

"Everybody stepped up," said Nelson, who had 15 points and seven rebounds. "Brandon got a huge rebound and put us up by one."


Schubert finished with a career-high 20 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots.

"I think rebounding was the key," Schubert said. "We didn't start out very well, but we made adjustments."

"We've asked him to be aggressive all season," Linbo said. "I thought he stepped up and was a leader tonight."

Shanks has been the leader for P-E-M all postseason, having scored 27, 25 and 25 points the last three games. It only figured he would take the next big shot with the Bulldogs down by one.

He had a good look with about five seconds left in OT, but the shot was off the mark. Nelson grabbed the rebound with 1.1 seconds left and was fouled.

"Nick Shanks again hit the big shots," Karas said. "And that last one, we thought that was going in."

Nelson stepped to the line and made both free throws for the 57-54 Byron lead. P-E-M got off a long shot at the buzzer, but it was off the mark.

"You couldn't have asked for a better game," Karas said.


Byron (25-4) moves to the Class AA state quarterfinals next Wednesday while P-E-M closes the season 21-9.

Byron 57, P-E-M 54, OT

BYRON (57)

Buster Meyer 3, Brandon Schubert 20, Jack Nelson 15, Tyler Coble 6, Joe Smith 7, Lance Mortland 0, Cody Baumbach 6, Evan Richardson 0, Andrew Root 0.


Mike Barnes 3, Schuyler Thompson 10, Logan Sexton 3, Nick Shanks 25, Alex McGuire 7, Zach Ziebell 1, Alex Slawson 2, Cole Stelow 0.

Halftime:BYR 34, P-E-M 29. Regulation:BYR 50, P-E-M 50.

Free throws:BYR 19-27, P-E-M 24-27. Field goals:BYR 17-40, P-E-M 12-42.


Three-point goals:BYR 4 (Smith 1, Nelson 1, Coble 1, Baumbach 1), P-E-M 6 (Shanks 3, Barnes 1, Thompson 1, McGuire 1).

Turnovers:BYR 17 P-E-M 19. Rebounds:BYR 28 (Schubert 7, Nelson 7, Smith 6), P-E-M 33 (Thompson 11, Shanks 9, Sexton 4).

Byron's Joe Smith gets position on PEM's Zach Ziebell for a rebound during their section 1AA championship Thursday night at the Mayo Civic Center Taylor Arena.

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