All Pilot Grove boys basketball coach Derek Skaggs wanted was a chance Friday night against top-seeded Chamois in the semifinal round of the Class 1 District 9 Tournament in Pilot Grove.
In a No. 1 versus No. 4 matchup, Skaggs got what he wanted and more with the ball down 43-42 with 5.5 seconds left.
“I didn’t want to call timeout because I didn’t want to give Chamois a chance to set up anything,” Skaggs said after the game. “I wanted it to be like Tyus Edney (UCLA player who beat Missouri in the NCAA Tournament years ago with a last second shot), where we dribble the full length of the court and put up a shot to win the game. It was either going to be Cole Meisenheimer or Bailey Quint to take the last shot.
“But tonight was a tough one for us, we just came up short of advancing to a district title game. There were many single possession opportunities throughout the game where it just wouldn’t fall our way. You have games where a small step feels like a mountain and this was one of those. I credit the kids. They played their heart out and gave it everything they had.”
As it turned out, Chamois held on for a 43-42 victory as junior Cole Meisenheimer came up short on the final shot, which clanked off the rim as time expired.
In the second semifinal game, Jamestown defeated Prairie Home 57-36 to forced a Chamois-Jamestown championship game on Saturday. The Eagles won that game 42-40 to move on to the sectional round of the state playoffs, where they will face Wellsville at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at Sturgeon High School.
Despite the loss, which dropped the Tigers to 12-13 on the season, Pilot Grove still gave itself a chance against Chamois while leading 9-4 at the end of one period and 21-16 at the break. However in the third quarter, the Pirates proved why they were the No. 1 seed by rallying back with a 16-12 advantage to cut the lead to one at 33-32.
Chamois got two big three after that to start the fourth quarter by Braden Mitchem and Anthony Keilhoz to go up 38-35 with 3:55 left. Keilhoz also hit 1 of 2 free throws after that to give the Pirates a four point lead at 39-35 with 2:56 left. However after back to back baskets by Gavin Shepherd and Kealin Vinson to tie the game at 39-all with 1:14 remaining, Chamois went up 41-40 with a little over 37 seconds left.
The Pirates caught a break after that by missing on a one and one but getting the rebound with 30 seconds left. Pilot Grove fouled with Chamois hitting 1 of 2 shots from the line to make it 42-40. Then, after a basket by Meisenheimer to tie the game at 42-all, the Tigers fouled intentionally with 16.4 seconds left. Chamois again hit 1 of 2 shots to go up 43-42. Pilot Grove, meanwhile, had its shot blocked on the other end with Chamois coming down with the rebound. The Pirates missed the front end of a one and one, which gave Meisenheimer 5.5 seconds to dribble down the floor and put up a shot at the buzzer.
However the shot fell short and the Pirates held on for the one point victory.
Nate Nolte had 18 while Brandon Mitchem chipped in 14 for Chamois.
For Pilot Grove, Bailey had 11 points. Gavin Shepherd and Cole Meisenheimer each chipped in eight while Kealin Vinson added seven, Bo Vinson four, Ethan Williams three and Lucas Fahrendorf with one.
In the second semifinal game, which featured two teams from the CCAA conference, Jamestown led Prairie Home from the opening tip while taking a 15-6 lead after one and a 34-15 advantage into the half.
Although the Eagles fell to Prairie Home just last week for the CCAA title 57-53, they were clicking on all cylinders Friday night. Of course it didn’t hurt that Jamestown hit five threes alone in the second quarter.
However in the third quarter, the Panthers outscored Jamestown 11-9 but could never get the lead below 16.
The Eagles led by as much as 20 (43-23) in the third quarter and took a 43-26 lead after 24 minutes of play. Meanwhile, in the final period, Jamestown outscored Prairie Home 14-10 to win the game by 21.
Clark Rohrbach led four players in double figures for Jamestown with 17 points. Christian Snyder finished the game with 12 while Mack Sorrells added 11 and Cole Higgins with 10.
For Prairie Home, who finished the season at 16-10 overakk, Kassen Lock had 14  points along with five rebounds, two steals and two assists.
Clayton Pethan chipped in 11 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals while Luke Stewart added six points and five rebounds, Blake Petsel with five points, two rebounds, one steal and one assist, Ty Stidham two rebounds, Gabe Turner one rebound and one assist and Blaine Petsel with one rebound.
Prairie Home coach Mark McLaughlin said the way his team finished is not as indicative of what they did or didn’t do as it is the way Jamestown played. “I tip my hat to them and to Coach Thompson for commitment to a game plah and defensive scheme, and it worked for them,” McLaughlin said. “However our guys finished their season at 16-10 and won the conference, Pilot Grove Tournament, had one 400 point player (Kassen Lock-427), one 300 point player (Clayton Pethan) and three players with over 100 points scored for the year in Blaine and Blake Petsel and Luke Stewart. The kids also beat Jamestown for the first time in their high school career. I think those are meaningful things.”