Hesperia comes through in the clutch, downs Shelby 42-38 in regular season finale

By Fred Inglis

HESPERIA – It’s been a tough season for the Hesperia boys basketball team.

But the Panthers ended their regular season on a impressive note with an exciting 42-38 comeback victory over traditional power Shelby on Tuesday in non-league action.

The Panthers remained focused in the final moments of the game to pull out the big win.

The score was tied 38-38 with 20 seconds left when Panthers sophomore Logan Balkema drove and scored the tie-breaking layup.

Hesperia’s Scott Peters was fouled on the same play, and the senior forward made both free throws to ice the four-point victory for the Panthers.

“Just clutch down the stretch,” Panthers head coach Doug Bolles said. “We’ve lost so many close games, but we left it all on the court tonight. It all started with defense.”

The Tigers led through most of the game, including 23-17 at halftime, but Shelby head coach Rick Zoulek knew the Panthers’ zone defense was a problem.

“They kept us out in the perimeter all game and we were getting frustrated,” Zoulek said. “If you don’t make those shots outside it works in their favor.”

Bolles noted Zoulek’s decades of success at Shelby, and said he was impressed that his team could get a win against the Tigers.

“Rick is a legend, I love the man,” Bolles said. “He’s who you want to be like, and he’s who you want your team to be like. And for my guys to play like that, I’m just so proud of them.”

Peters and fellow senior Oscar Coronado each scored 11 points for Hesperia. Coronado made three of the Panthers’ six 3-pointers.

Shelby Senior Kristian Oberlin led all scorers with 13 points. Junior Tyler Schouten added 11 points.

Hesperia wrapped up the regular season with a 4-16 record. Shelby, which is having a down season with a 4-15 record, will host Grant in its regular season finale on Thursday.

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