BLANCHARD — The Shelby Tigers could shoot the ball from anywhere on the court. They made those shots, too.
Led by senior Jason Beckman, the Tigers drained nine first half three-pointers, went inside in the second half and sealed the game from the free throw line during Monday’s 80-72 Class C regional semifinal win over the Lakeview Wildcats at Montabella High School.
“They couldn’t miss. We prepared for the three-pointer, but they hit nine in the first half,” Lakeview junior Nate Shurlow said. “They just kept shooting. They move the ball well and had people every where, big guys inside and we couldn’t shut them down every time.”
Beckman finished with a career-high 37 points. He drained seven three-pointers and went 12-for-12 from the free throw line — all 12 free throws in the fourth quarter.
“This team went to the regional finals last year. They have the experience and did not have any nervous energy,” Schreiber said. “They came out and played their game. We played our game, too. I don’t have any regrets. We did what we do to the best of our ability.”
With Lakeview (20-4) leading 9-7 in the first quarter, the Tigers connected on four consecutive three-pointers to take a 19-11 lead. The Wildcats closed out the quarter on a 5-0 run to trail 19-16.
The game was tied 24-24 in the second quarter when the Tigers again hit a flurry of three-pointers. This time Shelby nailed three straight triples to open a 33-24 advantage.
Shelby (22-2) led 37-30 at halftime.
“Our offense was there and our effort was there,” Shurlow said. “I just think they shot really well. If we play again, and they were off, we would win. That’s how it works.”
Shurlow had 17 first half points and finished with a team-high 24 points.
Lakeview battled in the third quarter and outscored the Tigers 15-12 to pull within 49-45 after 24 minutes. Brad Hamlin, after sitting most of the first half with two early fouls, scored five points in the third quarter for the Wildcats.
Instead of hitting shots beyond the arc, the Tigers were content working their inside game.
“This team went to the regional finals last year. They have the experience and did not have any nervous energy,” Schreiber said. “They came out and played their game.
“We played ours, too. I don’t have any regrets. We did what we do to the best of our ability,” he added.
The Wildcats, on a Shurlow basket, pulled to 49-47 to start the fourth quarter.
Shelby, though, countered with an 8-2 run — all scored by Andrew Beckman — to regain a comfortable 57-49 lead with almost five minutes remaining in the game.
“It’s a game of runs. We needed a big play then,” Schreiber said. “It just seemed like it wasn’t to be. We almost had a steal or made a play. We played hard.”
Shelby extended its lead to 64-51 with 4:07 remaining. The Wildcats continued to battle, but Jason Beckman sealed the game at the free throw line.
Andrew Beckman finished with 19 points.
Shawn Linsdey added 20 points for Lakeview, while Caleb Ruvalcaba finished with 14 points.
The Wildcats had a remarkable season with 20 wins, a CSAA championship and district title this season.
“The guys were committed to putting Lakeview basketball back on the map,” Schreiber said. “They did that. I believe that.”
Shelby will face Pewamo-Westphalia in the regional final on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Pirates won 57-36 on Monday night.
Lakeview loses four seniors (Lindsey, Hamlin, Jon Wandel and Jordan Stephens) from this year’s team, but returns a nice nucleus for next year.
“It was a successful season. I’m happy with it,” Shurlow said. “I thought the team was awesome. We’ve been playing with each other for three years now. We’ve improved every year and I’m happy with it.”
SHELBY 80, LAKEVIEW 72
Lakeview 16 14 15 27 — 72
Shelby 19 18 12 31 — 80
LAKEVIEW (20-4) — Boomer 1 0-0 3, Lindsey 7 3-5 20, Hamlin 1 2-2 5, Ruvalcaba 6 0-1 14, Torres 3 0-2 6, Shurlow 11 2-3 24. Totals: 29 7-13 72. Three-point goals: Lindsey 3, Ruvalcaba 2, Boomer, Hamlin. Total fouls: 20. Fouled out: Hamlin.
SHELBY (22-2) — Ja. Beckman 9 12-12 37, A. Beckman 7 4-7 19, Mussell 3 2-2 8, Anderson 2 0-0 6, James 1 0-0 2, Je. Beckman 3 2-3 8. Totals: 24 20-24 80. Three-point goals: Ja. Beckman 7, Anderson 2, A. Beckman 1. Total fouls: 12. Fouled out: None.