As has been its custom this season and beyond, Shelby’s boys basketball team made sure its opponent was going to earn everything in Monday night’s Division 3 regional semifinal.
McBain created enough separation in the second half for a 53-42 victory over Shelby at Lake City High School, but the Tigers made sure it wouldn’t be easy for the Ramblers.
Shelby sees its eight-game winning streak and its season end, finishing with a 14-12 record.
McBain (20-5) advances to Wednesday’s 7 p.m. regional final against Traverse City St. Francis (21-4), which defeated Sanford Meridian, 56-38, in the earlier regional semifinal Monday at Lake City.
“Great intensity from our guys throughout the game. So proud of how these guys raised their level of play during these last four weeks,” Shelby coach Rick Zoulek said.
“These guys worked their tails off on defense tonight and we just couldn’t score enough to win. McBain is a big, strong team and we battled to the end.”
McBain held a 10-8 edge after one quarter, but the game was tied at 21 at halftime. The Ramblers used a 16-11 advantage in the third and 16-10 margin in the fourth.
Shelby senior Bishop Lee led all scorers with 26 points to go with nine rebounds, four assists and two steals in a dynamite effort.
Phillip Hayes had eight points, four rebounds, two assists, four steals and one block for the Tigers. Wyatt Dickman added six points, while Mason Garcia totaled four rebounds, four assists and one steal. Carson Claeys had three rebounds and four assists.
“Going to miss our three seniors tremendously. Bishop, Mason and Carson all were leaders at different things this season,” Zoulek said. “One of the hardest things about coaching is losing those seniors that you have grown so close to over the years.
“The cool thing is that we have a special culture here and a lot of pride in our teams. These guys will stay in touch and always wish the best for those following. It’s so easy to come back and coach when kids work hard, play together, and truly care about each other.”
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