AVON — After winning the program’s first ever Section V title last weekend, Class C2 champion Pembroke had to wait until Thursday night to get back on the floor for the Section V Class C state qualifier at Avon High School against Class C3 winner Lyons.
For much of the night the Dragons were able to hang around with the high-powered Lions but in the end their senior star JC Walker proved to be too much.
Walker finished with a game-high 34 points and Lyons used a big run in the third quarter to erase a sizeable deficit before it was able to outlast Pembroke 59-56 in the final Section V game of the season.
Lyons had previously beaten Class C1 winner Northstar Christian in the Class C crossover game earlier in the week and the Lions will now meet Section VI Class C winner Randolph on Saturday for a chance to move to the final four.
Pembroke finished its impressive season at 22-2.
Cayden Pfalzer led the way for the Dragons with 19 points, while Tyson Totten added 18 and Jon Suro finished with 15 in the losing effort. Avery Ferreira pulled down a team-high nine rebounds for Pembroke.
After Walker scored four early points to get Lyons out to a quick 6-2 lead, the Dragons would eventually settle in and thanks to four free throws from Suro and a triple from Totten they would get the lead down to two at 9-7 midway through the opening frame. The Lions’ lead was four before Pembroke scored the final five points of the quarter — two more free throws from Suro and an old-fashioned 3-point play from Pfalzer to take a 14-13 lead into the second.
Early in the second, Pfalzer and Totten hit back-to-back 3-pointers to put the Dragons up by four. After Lions closed to within one on a 3-point play from Jacob Sides Pembroke would go on an 8-2 spurt, capped with a triple from Totten with 3:40 left in the half to put the Dragons up 28-21.
The lead was again out to eight at 31-23 after another Pfalzer 3-pointer with two-and-a-half to play before Walker scored four straight points to close the half and eventually pull the Lions to within five at 32-27.
Walker had 16 points in the opening half, while all 32 of Pembroke’s points came from Totten (12), Pfalzer (12) and Suro (8).
Totten scored in the paint early in the third quarter to get the lead back out to seven but a putback by big freshman Jamire Johnson started Lyons on an 8-0 run as it took the lead back on four straight points from Walker midway through the frame.
Neither team would lead by more than two for the next three minutes before Sides scored down low and the Lions added free throw at the end of the third to take a 46-42 advantage into the final eight minutes.
Johnson and Walker combined to get the Lions lead out to five early in the fourth but they weren’t able to pull away. A Pfalzer 3-pointer, two free throws from Totten and a drive from Suro gave Pembroke the lead back at 52-50. Fifteen seconds later, however, Walker hit a huge triple to give Lyons the lead right back.
A putback from Nate Duttweiler momentarily gave the Dragons the lead back at 54-53 with 2:15 left to play but that was the last time that they would hold the advantage,
Walker and junior captain Michael Briggs combined to go a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe to close it out as the Dragons would go scoreless for over two minutes before Avery Ferreira hit a jumper as the buzzer sounded for the final score.
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