In the opening half of St. Edward’s first-round game in the 2008 Nebraska State Basketball Tournament, it was all Shavontae Samuels.
Unfortunately for the Beavers, down the stretch, it was all Pleasanton.
The second-seeded Bulldogs outscored St. Edward 29-12 in the fourth quarter, including an 18-5 finishing run, and scored a 62-48 victory at Lincoln East High School.
St. Edward finished the 2007-08 campaign with a 20-4 record. Pleasanton advanced to the Class D2 championship game where the Bulldogs were defeated by Falls City Sacred Heart.
Playing a 2-3 zone defense, Pleasanton could not stop D2 All-Stater Samuels in the first half. The lightning-quick senior outscored the entire Bulldog team 22-21 to lead St. Edward to a 26-21 advantage at intermission.
St. Edward was still able to stay with the 22-1 Bulldogs for the first 12 minutes of the second half.
Following a 10-4 spurt that gave Pleasanton its first lead since the opening minute of the second quarter, Samuels hit a long three-point shot and Justin Fitchner countered a basket by 6-foot-7 Bulldog All-Stater Elijah Zwiener with another trey to boost St. Edward on top 36-33 entering the fourth quarter.
An offensive rebound and basket by Samuels and score inside by senior James Spath gave St. Edward a 40-35 edge before Pleasanton reversed the momentum.
Paitz, who led Pleasanton with 19 points, nailed a shot behind the arc and the Bulldogs followed with four free throws. After an offensive foul on Tharnish, Paitz scored on a full-court drive to give Pleasanton a 44-41 edge.
Samuels answered with a baseline runner, but from there the Bulldogs dominated a tiring Beaver squad.
Zwiener scored inside and, following a Pleasanton three-pointer, blocked his third shot of the fourth quarter. Paitz scored on another drive and the Bulldogs broke full-court pressure by St. Edward for two easy baskets and a 10-point lead, 55-45, with 1:43 to play.
From there, St. Edward misfired on several three-point attempts and Pleasanton sank free throws to establish the final margin.
“We’re disappointed, obviously, especially the way the first three quarters went,” he acknowledged. “But we’re pretty happy with what we accomplished too.
“We only had 10 players on our roster and there are not many teams who make it to the state tournament with so few.
“We don’t have the depth of teams like Pleasanton, but I give a lot of credit to our six seniors who came out and battled every night this season.”
Complete Article in Print Edition of the Albion News.