Lyle Hexom’s buzzer beater lifts the Great Falls Electric to a huge victory over the Salem Capitals

By Kevin Scott

Photos By Kevin Scott

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Casey Schreiner, a Great Falls Electric fan, captured the game-winning shot by Lyle Hexom off an inbounds pass from Broc Finstuen with 0.9 remaining in Friday’s 96-95 Great Falls Electric’s win over the Salem Capitals. (Video Courtesy of Casey Schreiner)

The Great Falls Electric led the Salem Capitals throughout the contest including a 54-47 advantage at halftime.

Salem’s first lead since the first quarter (21-18) occurred in the third quarter with 1:18 remining off a basket by Valentine Nyakinda,  a native of Kenya. The Electric gained back control with a deep three from Kareem Jamar, a layup by a speedy Antwaan Cushingberry and a free throw by Lyle Hexom put the home team ahead, 73-71 as the third period ended.

Salem built a nine-point lead (93-84) with 4:52 left in regulation capped off by a field goal by Valentine Nyakinda. The home crowd gave the Electric a boost and went on a 9-0 run to even the contest on a three-point field goal from the right corner by Kareem Jamar with four seconds left. Kylor Kelley from Corvallis, Oregon drove to the basket for an attempted layup that appeared to be blocked by a Great Falls defender, but the league officials called goaltending and Kelley picked up his 19th point with 0.9 remaining. After a timeout, Great Falls newcomer Broc Finstuen inbounded the ball to an open Lyle Hexom who turned around from the right side and buried a three-point shot for the wild 96-95 win for Great Falls.

Antwaan Cushingberry, Lyle Hexom, Kareem Jamar, and newcomer Andrew Whitsett accounted for 77 of the 96 points for the Electric. Cushingberry, Hexom and Jamar each went 3-for-5 from behind the arc for head coach Johnny Clark’s team. Hexom led the team with 12 defensive rebounds and Cushingberry contributed eight assists.

Oregon native Kylor Kelley shined for the Capitals despite the last second setback. He scored 19 points and dished out 10 rebounds and blocked four shots for head coach Kevin Johnson Jr.’s squad. Joseph Billinger, Jr. created nine assists for Salem.  

NEXT CONTEST: Great Falls and Salem will clash on the court once more during the regular season. Great Falls will host their fourth meeting on Saturday, May 4th at 7:00PM (MST) at the Swarthout Fieldhouse, the home court for the Great Falls High School Bison.

NOTES: The President of The Basketball League (TBL), David Magley attended the game to hand out last week’s Player of the Week Award to Great Falls Electric’s standout Lyle Hexom. Hexom, from Omaha, Nebraska was a big reason Great Falls swept their three game (road) series against the Emerald City (OR) Jaguars (106-94), Salem Capitals (118-104) and the Vancouver (WA) Volcanoes, 105-101 (April 25-27), who are the top team in the TBL’s West Conference’s Pacific Northwest Division.

Lyle Hexom combined for 67 points and 31 rebounds over the three-game series. Congratulations to Lyle for his efforts!!!

Great Falls and Wenatchee will meet in Great Falls on May 24-25 for the final regular season games of the season. Those games will be at the C.M. Russell High School Fieldhouse due to the 2024 Montana State AA & C Track Meet taking place at Great Falls High’s Memorial Stadium on Labor Day Weekend.

PROMOTION NIGHT: It was Great Falls Public School’s Junior High Night. Students attending either North MIddle School or East Middle School received FREE Admission by showing their School ID card. Parents that accompanied their student got into the game for $10.00 each plus got a FREE Game Program with roster.

After the home games, fans are invited to also to meet the team and coaches at the Stadium Bar and Casino after every home game and enjoy some great food and drinks

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