NIXON—Myles Thomas saved his best for last Friday night. In fact, he waited until the final seconds.
The Schulenburg senior drained a 3-pointer as time expired to give the Shorthorns a dramatic 87-86 win in double overtime over Jourdanton in an area playoff. The bucket capped a 34-point night for Thomas and sent the Schulenburg fans into a frenzy of celebration opposite the stunned Indians fans at Nixon-Smiley High School.
“You never want it to end with this group of guys,” Jourdanton coach Joseph Garmon said. “And my seniors, man, they’re an amazing group of kids. They’re just the most amazing group I’ve ever been around. I’ll be honest with you: Even if we would’ve kept on and we would’ve won a state championship, I would still feel this way because I don’t want it to end.
“How we lost, I don’t care about that. I’m just sad that it’s over with this group of kids.”
Thomas used a screen to find enough space on the left wing to get off the game-winner, which pushed him to 22 points after the third quarter. His effort helped the Shorthorns make up a nine-point fourth quarter deficit to advance to the regional quarterfinals.
“[This season] we said we would do four things: be committed to each other, play harder than anybody, work harder than anybody and have fun,” Jourdanton senior Michael Klumb said. “And that’s what we did, so that’s what matters to us.”
Schulenburg took its first lead with 2:40 remaining in the first overtime, but Klumb scored eight of the Indians’ 11 points in the period—including a pair of free throws to tie the game with 37.3 seconds—to extend the contest.
Klumb hit seven 3-pointers and finished with a team-high 34 points.
“Best leader I’ve ever had. Best kid I’ve ever been around,” Garmon said of Klumb. “I just love that guy. I’m going to miss him more than anything in this world. A lot of people see what he does on the floor, but it’s what he does off the floor. It’s how he handles the troops, how he makes sure everybody’s doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”
After two Jaxon Fietsam free throws gave the Shorthorns an 84-82 lead in double overtime, Jarel Lilly knocked down a 3-pointer to put Jourdanton on top with 1:44 left.
Lilly extended the Indians’ advantage to 86-84 with 28 seconds to go after converting 1 of 2 chances from the charity stripe. Jourdanton struggled at the free-throw line, shooting 13 for 37 (35.1 percent) on the night.
“Did we miss a lot of free throws? Yeah, we did. But we also had our opportunities regardless,” Garmon said. “And if [Thomas] doesn’t hit an amazing shot, then we’re celebrating and they’re feeling like we feel now.”
The Indians came out fast, scoring the first nine points of the game en route to a 15-3 lead after the opening frame. Jourdanton went up by 15 in the second quarter before a 10-0 Schulenburg run kept it close.
A Klumb 3-pointer early in the fourth period put the Indians in front 51-42, but the Shorthorns cut the deficit to one with an 8-0 spurt. Schulenburg overcame a four-point hole in the final 45 seconds of regulation, spurred by a 3-pointer and free throw by Thomas.
Senior Payton Kaiser scored 14 points for the Indians, who also got 12 from Lilly. The game marked the final time the 2018 seniors would take the floor with the freshman Lilly and the rest of the young corps returning next year.
“I’m going to miss them so much,” Klumb said of his classmates. “We bonded so well together. It was just a great run with them, and now it’s the freshmen’s turn. We gave them the reigns: Jarel, Payton, Josh, Brett and Schuchart. It’s their reigns now. And I can’t forget Jake [Reyna]. Jake’s like one of the seniors, but he’s still got a couple more years.”
Garmon credits the seniors for laying a foundation that could take the program to new heights.
“The future looks good because of my senior guys,” Garmon said. “…Down the road, whenever we are fortunate enough to maybe make a regional tournament or a state tournament, it’s going to be because of the guys that came before. The future definitely does look bright.”