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Pine Valley Shuts Down Clymer For ‘D’ Crown

Pine Valley’s Miles Volk drives to the basket while being defended by Clymer’s Kaden Beckerink in the Section VI Class D final on Friday at the Physical Education Complex at Jamestown Community College. Photo by Mike Frame

Pine Valley is making a habit out of posting shutout defensive quarters against Clymer.

The Panthers did it on the biggest stage Friday evening.

Trailing 28-22 entering what would have been the final eight minutes of its season, No. 1 Pine Valley outscored No. 2 Clymer 8-0 in the fourth quarter to win the Section VI Class D title at Jamestown Community College.

“This is huge,” Panthers senior Jon Sheldon said. “It hasn’t happened in a very long time. We’re very excited.”

“When you see them battle from behind over and over again, it just shows the mental fortitude of the team,” Pine Valley head coach Bobby Slisz added. ” … They’ve all been through adversity. To see them all come together on a basketball court and overcome time after time … it’s not a surprise.”

Clymer’s Tanner Mihalko lets off a shot ahead of Pine Valley’s Jon Sheldon in the Section VI Class D final at JCC. Photo by Mike Frame

The Panthers opened their season with a 56-55 overtime loss to the Pirates in Clymer on Dec. 1, but posted an 18-0 shutout in the fourth quarter that day to force the extra session.

Trailing by six Friday at the Physical Education Complex, there was no thought that the deficit was too big to overcome.

Neither team scored for the first three minutes of the fourth quarter before Pine Valley sophomore Cameron Slade found the basket. Two trips later, senior Nick Seabolt knocked down a 3-pointer to make it 28-27 with 4:09 remaining.

Junior Trent Ivett then hit the go-ahead — and what turned out to be game-winning — basket in the lane with 3:20 left to go.

“He is a growing player. He hasn’t played a lot of basketball. He split time early in the season between hockey and basketball. When he really started coming to basketball, he just grew and grew,” Slisz said of Ivett. “He’s a learner. Everything we give him, he’s like a sponge. The more time he has in the gym, the better it’s going to be.”

Senior Miles Volk hit a free throw with 23.8 seconds remaining to make it a two-point game and the Pirates came up empty on their final two trips.

“When we play from ahead and with confidence, that defensive team shuts anybody down,” Slisz said. ” … We made a big defensive adjustment in this game. We did not press at all. … Really the only way they were in the game was by shooting 3s, which they are excellent at.”

In all, Clymer went 0 for 7 from the field, including 0 for 4 from 3-point range, and turned the ball over seven times over the final eight minutes.

“We missed some shots that we should put in the hole. We had some good looks that I felt should’ve gone down,” Clymer head coach Irv King said. “Don’t get me wrong, Pine Valley played good, hard defense. You can’t take away from what they did.”

Sheldon led the Panthers with 11 points, while Ivett and Volk finished with 6 apiece.

Pine Valley also held the Pirates without a field goal during a 10-1 first quarter and Clymer didn’t make a field goal in the game until senior Tanner Mihalko’s 3-pointer with 1:44 left in the second quarter, but the Panthers lead was only 14-8 at halftime.

Mihalko scored 9 points and sophomore Kameron Einink hit a pair of 3-pointers during a 20-8 third quarter as the Pirates powered themselves into the lead.

“He hit some big shots. He was on a roll there for a little bit,” King said of Mihalko. “The third quarter was about the only time we made field goals.”

Unfortunately, the Pirates were unable to keep the offense going in the fourth quarter as Pine Valley rallied for the 11th sectional title in program history and first since 2011.

“It’s a small class. From the beginning, we knew we had a special team,” Sheldon said. “We’ve had ups and downs. We were ready for this moment from the beginning of the season.”

“When you have the buy-in from the kids, it’s just the best feeling in the world,” Slisz added. ” … To see all the hard work pay off to this level — we were so close two years ago — to see this group grow to this level and see it all come to fruition, it’s incredible.”

Next up for the Panthers is a date next Saturday at 6 p.m. with Section V’s champion at the Buffalo State Sports Arena. Avoca/Prattsburgh and Elba will play for the Rochester area’s title at 4 p.m. today inside Blue Cross Arena.

“We’ll be interested to see how we match up,” Slisz said. “We’ll dive into the film and come up with a game plan in the next couple of days. I expect it to be another big, physical game.”

NOTES: Ivett had 13 rebounds; Sheldon had 11 rebounds and four steals; and Volk had nine rebounds for Pine Valley, which shot 12 of 40 from the field, including 3 of 24 from 3-point range, and turned the ball over 22 times. … Mihalko had 12 points; and senior Jonathan Massing had 12 rebounds and five steals for Clymer, which shot 9 of 42 from the field, including 5 of 23 from 3-point range, and turned the ball over 21 times.

CLYMER (28)

Mihalko 5 0 12, Einink 2 0 6, Dunnewold 1 0 2, KBeckerink 1 1 4, Massing 0 4 4, Redlecki 0 0 0, WMitchell 0 0 0. Totals 9 5 28.

PINE VALLEY (30)

Slade 1 0 2, Ivett 3 0 6, JaSheldon 0 0 0, Seabolt 2 0 5, JoSheldon 5 0 11, Volk 1 3 6. Totals 12 3 30.

3-point goals–Mihalko 2, Einink 2, KBeckerink, Seabolt, JoSheldon, Volk.

Clymer 1 7 20 0 — 28

Pine Valley 10 4 8 8 — 30

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