Byrd rallies past Captain Shreve in 1-5A tiebreaker

The Byrd boys basketball team has an uncanny ability to pull out close wins, and the Yellow Jackets did it again Saturday against Captain Shreve in a 74-71 win at LSUS.

Byrd improved to 10-1 in games decided by five points or less or in overtime as the Yellow Jackets erased a six-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

The game between the District 1-5A co-champions decided which team got the full power point and which received ½ of a power point.

The official power rankings will be computed Sunday, but Byrd appears to have locked in the No. 3 seed while Shreve moves up two to No. 17 with the ½point.

Byrd coach Rusty Johnson said winning close games is nothing new for the Yellow Jackets.

“We’ve been doing that all year,” Johnson said. “I hope it pays off when the playoffs start next Friday.

“We didn’t take as many 3-pointers today, and we got to the rack.”

Captain Shreve led most of the third quarter and held a 54-48 edge heading into the fourth quarter.

The Gators’ lead wavered between one and five points before a Melek Walden 3-pointer tied the game at 62-62 with four minutes left. That started a stretch of two ties and five lead changes as the more-than-capacity crowd at The Dock started chants after each bucket.

The loudest came when David Holmes (12 points) slammed home a teammate’s miss, giving Byrd a 68-67 edge with one minute left.

Shreve succeeded in crashing the offensive glass all game, and Marcus Lovelace scored his last of eight points – all in the second half – to retake the lead.

But Byrd’s Chad Lott got a fast break layup and then made two free throws after a defensive rebound for a 72-69 lead with 17 seconds left.

Shreve’s Toronco Loston (16 points) connected with a spinning layup with seven seconds remaining, but Byrd’s Montrey Thomas made two free throws before Shreve’s Jesse McWright’s contested 3-pointer missed the mark.

“We competed at a high level against a Byrd team that’s going to be a very high seed,” said Shreve coach Todd Martinez. “We did a poor job of being in correct defensive position … and our guys besides (McWright and Loston) were a little gun shy at times.

“That hesistation transitioned to the defensive end, too, and that makes you a step slow and leads to Byrd’s free throws. But we got better from the last loss to Byrd, and we have a week to learn from this one.”

Martinez added that he preferred the No. 17 seed to the No. 16 seed. Going on the road in the first round means a home date with the No. 1 seed with a first-round win. The official brackets will be announced Monday.

Byrd’s Montrey Thomas scored a team-high 25 points, including 16 in the first half. His two free throws at the end at least guaranteed overtime if Shreve made a 3-pointer.

“We knew Shreve would be tough and that we had to give it all we had,” Thomas said. “We were pumped for this game, and we knew what we had to do.

“We love the atmosphere here today, and we’ve played in front of a packed house all season.”

Byrd made 28 of 35 free throws, including 13 of 15 from Lott and 8-of-8 from Thomas.

The Yellow Jackets won two of three against the Gators this season, which includes a 74-66 win in which Shreve erased a 10-point, fourth-quarter lead only for Byrd to win in overtime.

Shreve won the first matchup 100-79.

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