By Chris Johnson

Sports Correspondent

There comes a time in a season when a team has to realize they can still get things in order and pursue a dream. Many of those dreams for members of the Byron boys’ basketball team begin with playing well each night and preparing for the playoffs ahead. Experience has shown that sometimes things don’t go well and other times great things happen, that lead to championships.

On Friday, Dec. 16, the Tigers picked up their well-earned title and finished in elite company in the annual Forreston Boys’ Basketball Holiday Classic. The Tigers won the Consolation Championship 63-27 over the River Ridge Wildcats and ended a week filled with games with a 3-1 record.

The Tigers lost to 12-seed Orangeville in the opening round of the annual boys’ basketball classic 67-57. It was a surprising win for the Broncos. Byron, a considerably larger school was one of the top picks to win it all in Forreston. It was a 5-12 pairing in the opening round of a tournament. Many fans will look at that pairing a little differently in March at other levels of organized basketball.

The Tigers went on to win three straight games to take the “runner-up” title at the Forreston games. The third-place finisher was Freeport Aquin, the knocked off the Broncos in the Friday, Dec. 16 tournament closer.

Byron beat Lena-Winslow in the third round of the tournament and kept the win streak alive as they ran into the host Forreston Cardinals on Wednesday, Dec. 14. Byron knocked off Forreston 72-54 and advanced to face River Ridge in the Consolation Championship Game.

River Ridge advanced to the Consolation Championship Game as a result of wins over Oregon and Pecatonica in the quarterfinal and semi-final rounds.

Byron jumped ahead early and carried a one-score edge into the second period, up15-12. River Ridge began allowing the Tigers offense to find a rhythm and that would prove to be a problem.

As play worked through the second period the Tigers started finding additional weapons. Trent Snodgrass led the way. Support from Pauly Rico and Hayden Jancek started pushing the Wildcats back towards containment as the Tigers scored 24 points in the period. At the half Byron was in front by 20, 39-19.

River Ridge could not recover. The Byron offense fell into sync and it began exploring varying options. In the period the Tigers added twelve points to their advantage. After three periods Byron was working with a running clock and holding onto a 56-24 lead.

With the game facilitated courtesy of security-measures in place and inclement weather conditions waiting, the contest ended as the Tigers settled into center court to hoist the Consolation Championship Trophy with the 63-27 win. The snail-pace exit east, on a snow-covered Rt. 72, was allowed to begin.

Byron ended the Forreston Holiday Tournament with a Consolation Championship Trophy and a record identical to the one carried by the Winnebago Indians, who fell to Sterling Newman in the Title Game of the Forreston Boys’ Basketball Christmas Classic Final.

Tournament play closes the 2016 portion of the winter sports schedule for Byron as they prepare to open January, 2017 with Big Northern matches against Rock Falls on Jan. 4 followed by a Jan. 10 visit to Stillman Valley and a warm invitation to the Winnebago Indians on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017.

The Byron boys’ basketball team took 5th place, bringing home the Consolation Bracket trophy, at the 2016 Forreston Holiday Tournament, held last week.

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