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Basketball: Bohn goes from bleachers to court; Pinecrest tops Wesleyan
Pinecrest Academy senior Will Howell attempts a 3-point shot Tuesday during the Paladins' 64-56 win against Wesleyan. - photo by David Roberts

Pinecrest coach Jay Lynch jokes that Nick Bohn is in the middle of a 10-day contract with the Paladins' boys basketball team.

Bohn might be around longer than that. 

Bohn, a senior who was playing in his first basketball game since seventh grade, scored six points and added four rebounds Tuesday, filling in for a Pinecrest team that was without three rotational players in a 64-56 win against Wesleyan.

"I thought this might be a one-time thing, like practice Monday and play Tuesday and see what happens after," Bohn said. "That happened, so I think I'm going to be playing if the team is good with it.'"

Because of COVID-19 contact tracing, Pinecrest was down to just five players last week, prompting Lynch to put out feelers for fill-in players.

Bohn was at the center of several key possessions in a back-and-forth fourth quarter, first when he picked the pocket of a Wesleyan player, which led to an Oscar Lynch 3-pointer seconds later that cut Pinecrest's deficit to 44-43 with 7:15 left.

Then, with Lynch at the free-throw line, Bohn corralled an offensive rebound and dished to Lynch, who knocked down a 14-foot jump shot to give the Paladins the lead, 46-44.

Bohn increased the lead on the following possession, once again capitalizing off a missed free throw before taking the shot himself, laying the ball up while falling to the ground.

"I'm going to be honest here, my older brother Caleb played basketball here — a lot more skilled player, had a good shot," he admitted "I don't really have a shot, I'm not really a handler and not really a passer, but because of football, I got a little thicker and got a little stronger and more physical. So, I think rebounding and defense is going to be what I'm going for."

Caleb Bohn scored 1,000 points during his career at Pinecrest and helped the Paladins to the Class 1A Private Elite Eight during the 2019-20 season.

Nick was also a two-way starter for Pinecrest's football team in the fall and collected 75 tackles.

"He wanted to play last year, but then he got hurt with football so he sat out," Pinecrest coach Jay Lynch said. "Then he wanted to play this year, but he was worried about getting hurt. He did get banged up in football, but he's basically like, 'Now I feel better.' The seniors have been in school with him since pre-K. You saw they were pretty excited."

Pinecrest trailed 29-28 heading into halftime after Robert Kiernan's 3-pointer at the buzzer made it a one-point game.

The Paladins opened the third quarter the same way, using a 3-pointer by Ernie Guerra on the opening possession to grab a 31-29 lead.

Wesleyan's Thomas Chipman knocked down two free throws to tie the game, sparking a 6-0 run that allowed the Wolves to grow their lead.

But minutes later, Bohn's steal lead to Lynch's 3, then Bohn's offensive rebounds helped the Paladins stay out front.

Meanwhile, Lynch was virtually unstoppable on offense late in the fourth quarter, knocking down pull-up jumpers and scoring at the rim, including a two-handed jam that made it 55-49. Lynch ultimately scored 13 of the Paladins' last 15 points and finished with 38 points.

"Oscar carries a big burden for us most of the time," Jay Lynch said. "So, for him to have only 38 out of 64 ... sometimes it's 70 percent, so that's pretty awesome."

The only points Lynch didn't account for came on a breakaway by Bohn, who could have dunked the ball but decided at the last second to lay it in.

"This is my first game since seventh grade, so I know I can dunk it and I've got to go for the dunk," Bohn said. "I hear Oscar and Will [Howell] behind me like, 'Layup, layup, layup!' I'm like, 'That actually might make sense,' but I'm like, 'No, no. I'm going to go for the dunk.' I started jumping too early, then midair I'm just like, 'It's got to get in.'"

Howell added 12 points, including three 3-pointers, while John Lynch also had a 3-pointer.

Pinecrest [8-6, 1-4 Region 6-1A Private] has won three straight games and will continue region play at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Fellowship Christian.