MENDOTA — For a quarter and a half, the Mendota boys basketball team was solid Thursday against Byron.
The Trojans took care of the ball, shot well and played solid defense as they held a slim lead over the Tigers.
Unfortunately for MHS, there was a lot of basketball left to be played and turnovers proved costly as the Trojans fell to Byron 55-48.
Midway through the second quarter, Mendota’s John Gehm got a long rebound behind the 3-point arc and calmly drained a 3-point shot to give MHS a 19-16 lead.
That, however, was the last time the Trojans would enjoy an advantage.
Byron’s Clayton Hoover picked up a steal and converted the layup, and then he again picked up a loose ball and converted it into another layup for a 20-19 lead.
Mendota finished the first half with five consecutive turnovers and the Tigers picked up points on four of the five turnovers as they took a 26-19 advantage at half.
Daniel Lover led the Tigers with 10 rebounds in the game, but it was his steal and layup that gave Byron a 28-21 lead early in the second half.
With 4:15 left in the third quarter, Mendota’s Trae Blumhorst made a layup for his first points of the game. Seconds later, Gehm hit his third 3-point shot of the contest to cut the deficit to 33-28.
However, the Tigers countered with Dalton Payton putbacks as Byron took a 37-30 lead after three quarters.
The fourth quarter was a mirror image of the third with teams trading punches.
Hoover continued his solid game as he picked up seven more points in the quarter.
His mid-range jumper early in the fourth gave the Tigers a 41-33 lead.
The Trojans countered with another 3-point shot by Gehm followed by Blumhorst slashing to the basket to score to make it a 43-38 Byron lead.
Later, James Carroll converted a three-point play before Gehm sank an NBA-range 3-pointer, but the Tigers hit 10 of 12 attempts from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter to counter the MHS rally and seal the Byron victory.
Gehm led the Trojans with 15 points, while James Carroll added 12 points and Blumhorst 10.
Hoover had a game-high 18 points for Byron, while Payton added 16.
Brad Martin can be reached at 220-6939, or at email@example.com.