Flawless first half takes turn in OT

Josh Nord almost smiles as he hits this layup against St. Charles. ~ Ron DuCharme
Josh Nord almost smiles as he hits this layup against St. Charles.
~ Ron DuCharme

Big time players come up with big-time shots, and Plainview-Elgin-Millville junior Nick Shanks’ big-time three pointer with 47 seconds left in the game propelled the Bulldogs to a 68-64 win over the Caledonia boys in the 1AA sub-section championship game Saturday, March 9 at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester.

Shank’s 3-pointer, his fourth of the game, capped a furious comeback by the Bulldogs who trailed by 11 points to the Warriors. “We had a great season,” coach Josh Diersen said. “Hopefully we can take some lessons from this and get back to work for next year.”

The Warriors played a near-flawless first half to take a 36-25 lead at the break. “Our defense was all over them,” Diersen said, but P-E-M used a 7-0 run to start the second half. Caledonia was dealt a big blow near the end of the first half when junior Josh Nord went down hard after getting kicked in the face going after a loose ball and was taken to a local hospital. “That was a big thing for us,” Diersen said.

Despite the setbacks Caledonia still led 53-48 with 3:46 to play, but the Bulldogs went on an 8-3 run that ended with Shanks hitting what some called an NBA–range 3-pointer that tied the game at 55 all.

Kevin Lapham blocks a St. Charles player during their March 4 competition in Rochester. ~ Ron DuCharme
Kevin Lapham blocks a St. Charles player during their March 4 competition in Rochester.
~ Ron DuCharme

“We missed a lot of opportunities in the second half and they just made plays and shots and we didn’t,” Diersen said after watching his team shoot over 50 percent from the floor in the first half en route to the double-digit lead at the break.

In overtime P-E-M took over at the free throw line. Ten of their 13 points were scored from the charity stripe and the other three came on a 3-pointer to start the overtime period. “They just made more free throws and plays than we did,” Diersen said. “Our shot selection wasn’t the best in the second half, and we missed a lot of opportunities. They just made more than we did.”

The loss ends the basketball careers of seniors Alex Varney, Sean Kearney, Nathan Rohrer, Andy Li and Kevin Lapham. “It hurts right now,” Diersen said, but we have to get back to work and get to that game again. Our staff and assistants – everybody did a great job, and this program is growing.”

The Warriors got to the championship game with a 58-53 win over St. Charles Monday night at Rochester. Austin Bauer made 5 of 8 free throws in the second half, and Caledonia built a 20-12 halftime lead that they extended to 36-21 with a little less than 10 minutes to play.

St. Charles senior Aaron Leistikow then outscored the Warriors 11-2 to close the gap to 36-28 with 7:40 left to play, but the Warriors got to the free throw line and made 14 free throws in the final 4:39 of the game to ice the win.


– Brady Ambrose

 P-E-M 68, Caledonia 64, OT


Rohrer 14, Varney 3, Sorenson 15, Nord 3, Bauer 15, Spier 6, Lapham 4, Lampert 4.

P-E-M (68)

Barnes 10, Thompson 15, Sexton 3, Shanks 25, McGuire 7, Siebel 1, Slaw son 6, Stelow 1.

Free throws: CAL 16-26, P-E-M 22-34

Field goals: CAL 19-51, P-E-M 19-59.

Turnovers: CAL 12, P-E-M 9.

Three-point goals: CAL 9 (Bauer 3, Sorenson 3, Nord 1, Rohrer 1, Varney 1), P-E-M 8 (Shanks 4, Barnes 2, Thompson 1, McGuire 1).

Rebounds: CAL 33 (Sorenson 8, Rohrer 7, Varney 6), P-E-M 49 (Thompson 15, Shanks 10, McGuire 6).

Caledonia 58, St. Charles 53


Busian 13, Leistikow 37, Fisher 2, Decker 1.


Rohrer 13, Varney 5, Sorenson 9, Nord 12, Bauer 9, Spier 2, Lapham 9, Lampert 8.

Free throws: STC 5-14, CAL 22-34.

3-point goals: STC 6 (Leistikow 4, Busian 2), CAL 2 (Sorenson 1, Nord 1).

Field goals: STC 21-55, CAL 15-37. Turnovers: STC 13, CAL 16.