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Shawnee falls to Shelby; Bertke has huge game

Mar. 15—BOWLING GREEN — Beckett Bertke had a game for the ages and Shawnee nearly had a comeback to remember before being beaten 59-50 by Shelby in a Division II boys basketball regional semifinal Thursday night at Bowling Green State University's Stroh Center.

Bertke, a 6-5 sophomore, scored 41 points on a night when many of the things that took Shawnee to 19 wins and to the regional were disrupted by Shelby's height and aggressive defense.

He hit 17 of 32 shots, led his team in rebounds with 12 and was the only Shawnee player to score in the first half, when he had all 16 of the Indians' points.

Shelby (24-2) jumped out to a 16-2 lead at the beginning of the game and led 23-7 a little over a minute into the second quarter.

Shawnee (19-7) was never able to recover from that slow start but it did cut a 12-point Shelby lead to two points, 43-41, with a 10-0 run in the last minute and a half of the third quarter and the first two minutes of the fourth quarter.

Alex Bruskotter, a 6-7 guard who has signed with Wright State, responded by scoring three out of Shelby's next four buckets and soon after that the Whippets' lead was back to 10 points with three minutes left in the game.

Bruskotter led Shelby's scoring with 17 points. Brayden DeVito scored 13 points and Casey Lantz had 12 points.

"They're really good at coming out and being the aggressors," Shawnee coach Mark Triplett said. "I kind of preached to our kids all week that they come out and punch you. You've got to be ready to fight. We got down 23-7 and that's a really bad place to be in any game but especially against a team like that.

"The first quarter has not been kind to us this season. We had some bad turnovers and they got themselves going in transition off those bad turnovers. They're too good to give them easy buckets and we gave them too many easy buckets."

Triplett called Bertke's performance "one of the more impressive high school games I've ever witnessed."

"Forty-one (points) and 12 (rebounds) in a regional game. Are you kidding me? Against a team of that caliber? He put us on his back and gave us a chance. Our kids rallied around him and scrapped. They don't care who's scoring, they just want to win. He was sensational, I don't know what else to say," he said.

Shelby played hard defense on Bertke, who averaged 22 points a game, even before he became the go-to guy on nearly every trip down the floor.

"They'd pick me up at the free throw line and I'd just be getting chased and houded," Bertke said.

Shelby coach Greg Gallaway said that was a big part of his team's defensive game plan from the opening tip-off.

"We had a big focus on Beckett. We wanted to make things tough for him. What did he end up with, 41 points? When I look at those shots he made I thought we did a good job making them tough shots. That was our goal," he said.

Shawnee has reached the regional tournament three times in the last five years, including 2021, when it went to the state tournament.

Even though it loses three senior starters — Nick Pasion, Alex Goldsberry and Dominic Lynch — Bertke said returning to the regional is a goal that will motivate Shawnee in the offseason and next season.

"Our coach preached to us to stay hungry. It's a loss. We took it on the chin and we're going to go back in the gym, work out , do our lifting program and get back here, come back here to the regional," he said.

Shelby 59, Shawnee 50

Score by quarters:

Shawnee 5 11 18 16 — 50

Shelby 19 8 16 16 — 59

SHAWNEE

Beckett Bertke 41, Alex Goldsberry 5, Tate Bender 3, Trevick Bertke 1. Totals: 20-6-50.

SHELBY

Brayden DeVito 13, Issaiah Ramsey 7, Alex Bruskotter 17, Casey Lantz 12, Bryson Baker 7, Karsen Homan 2. Totals: 25-8-59.

Three-pointers: Shawnee — B. Bertke 3, Bender 1; Shelby — DeVito 1.

Records: Shawnee 19-7; Shelby 24-2.