LOL… The ball bounced beautifully just as Botkins planned it!
With under 10 seconds left in the game and the defending Division IV state champs nursing a two-point lead, an errant Trojan pass “tipped the top of Dylan Topp’s head and spun in the air like a top,” as Jack Kramer described online via ScoresBroadcast.com and on radio via WMVR, 105.5 TAM FM.
Then, Springfield Shawnee’s Patrick Fultz missed a break-away steal and perhaps a shot at a game-winning 3 as the loose basketball looped fortuitously into the arms of Trojan Jameson Meyer.
The senior guard calmly swished two free throws to seal for Botkins an exciting 61-57 triumph over previously unbeaten Div. III Springfield Shawnee on Sunday afternoon at the Elk Elite showcase at Centerville High School.
Record-breaking weekend listenership of more than 2,300 IP addresses joined the live broadcast stream late in the fourth quarter via SCORES, the Shelby County Online Radio Entertainment System.
With the heart-stomping, four-point victory, Botkins advanced to 7-0 and Shawnee slipped to 5-1.
Each team shot lights out from behind the arc. Botkins and Shawnee split an amazing total of 18, made, 3-point field goals.
But, during the game’s stretch run, the Trojans defended tightly the Braves two leading scorers, Patrick Fultz and Zion Crowe, and coaxed two Shawnee players off the bench to take jump shots at crunch time in the final 90 seconds.
Botkins led by eight points at halftime, 36-28, before falling behind, 47-46, very late in the third quarter and, 54-50, after three minutes of the fourth. Fultz’ three-ball and RJ Griffin’s deuce sent Shawnee in front.
Then, Jaydon Wendel hurled home a triple, one of his four from distance, and Jacob Pleiman threaded a terrific assist to Dylan Topp to lift Botkins to a one-point edge. Topp returned the favor and dealt Carter Pleiman a great feed a minute later to boost Botkins’ advantage to three, 57-54 with 1:44 to go in the game.
Shawnee did not fully recover from that decisive seven-point swing.
Jacob Pleiman led the way for Botkins with 18 points and numerous blocked shots, despite being blanked from the floor in the second half. Shawnee became very physical as the game progressed and frequently hooked the arms of the 6-foot-6 Pleiman and attempted to ride him out of the post.
“Jacob does what he has to do and what the situation requires,” said Botkins head coach Phil Groves after the game online and on radio. “He played excellent defense, as usual. Jacob swatted several shots, hindered numerous others, and worked the backboards hard.”
“He is a winner, a selfless player,” the coach added.
Pleiman displayed a smooth, left-handed, seven-foot shot in the opening period and connected on a long, rainbow three-pointer a few minutes later.
Groves credited 6-5 senior Elijah Stewart and 6-3 sophomore Jordan Herzog for their contributions off the bench. Each dished out a key assist and each dropped home an important field goal.
Meyer tossed in 14 for Botkins; Wendel netted a dozen. Meyer unloaded a perfect buzzer-beater from long range to close out the first quarter. Wendel’s pair of triples began the game’s scoring for the Trojans.
Botkins 6-5 Carter Pleiman was under the weather but started the game and battled throughout the contest, scoring seven points. Topp tallied six.
“A ‘team’ triumph,” said Groves. “Tough getting fired up for an early Sunday tip-off, but our players were very ready to play.”
Shawnee’s sharpshooting guard Fultz drilled 21 points. Crowe canned 20.
The Braves’ third quarter press triggered five of the Trojans eight total turnovers leading to ten of Shawnee’s 19 points in the period. Botkins missed a couple lay-ups and two technical foul shots in this stanza as well.
But the Trojans played extremely well for three of the four quarters. The defense of the black and gold buckled down during the final 5:29 of the game, stifling Shawnee on only three points.
ScoresBroadcast.com and WMVR present two boys games this week: Fort Loramie at St. Henry on Tuesday and Russia at Anna on Thursday. Air time for both contests is 7 p.m.
Botkins is atop the Shelby County Athletic League boys standings with a mark of 4-0. Russia is 3-1; Fort Loramie and Jackson Center, both 3-2; Anna, 2-2; Fairlawn, 1-4; Houston, 0-5.