Gymnasium full. Check. Bands playing. Check. Cheerleaders hyped. Check. Van vs Sherman rivalry — priceless.
On a warm pre Christmas night, one team left with a Christmas wish and the other, a free throw wish short.
The 5-0 van Bulldogs took on the 1-1 Sherman Tide to establish part 1 of county bragging rights.
Van looking to go 6-0 on an untested young Sherman squad got everything they could handle Tuesday night.
Sherman came out on fire and lead 14-12 at end of the first. and kept the lead by two at half time. 3rd quarter say Van go down by 7 . 42-35. Things were beginning to look like Van’s unbeaten mark was done. The people that left missed a great contest.
But Van tightened up on defense and their power forward/center, Cole Price, started pulling down critical rebounds, and putting them back in the basket. The Sherman lead started to dwindle.
Down 55-52, Van transfer Tyler Stewert, hit a 3 pointer with 15 seconds on the clock. That tied the game at 55 and sent the packed house at Sherman High School into pandemonium. Sherman tried inbounds pass but was denied the basket.
Overtime started and a slowdown strategy started off with a couple baskets by both teams that loosened up the young lads.
Van went up 61-58 and both teams started a foul strategy with bonus shots. Van sunk the free throws and Sherman struggled at the line.
Van won 67-64.
Van Forward Tyler Jarrell commented on the game saying “Greg Lail went out early in firhe 3st quarter and we had to regroup and to adjust without his physical presence. It put extra pressure on Cole Price, Hunnycutt , Kraus and others. We were a little shell shocked from the crowd and their enthusiasm. what a great atmosphere. Tyler hit the 3 with seconds to go and it gave us big emotional boost. the see saw battle kind of stopped at the foul line. We were making them. They did not. It should be another great game in two weeks.”
Sherman shooter Caleb Duncan explained, “We had Van on the ropes all night. We led and let the small details of the game beat us. We struggled at the free throw line in OT and Van made theirs. Kraus and Jarrell made the shot at the line when they counted. We did not. Stewert made a big play with his 3 pointer at end of regulation that sucked some wind out of us but we battled back and didn’t go down easy. Tyler Craig and other on my team battled every second. We were playing for the fans. We were playing for us and We play for the coaches we respect. The home town fans were crazy.We loved it! I’ve not experienced anything like it. I cant wait to play them again in two weeks and bring Sherman over to Van.”