Nick Shanks

Posted at: 03/13/2013 10:57 PM

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- What a difference a year makes.

The PEM boys team that won state last year?  Very different from the 2013 squad, but Nick Shanks is one of the guys that saw playing time on that title team.

"Having some experience in the Civic Center and up at state, too, that's been helping me a lot," Shanks said.

Shanks has become a different player.  Rather than stay outside and shoot threes, like last year, he's done more of the dirty work in the paint.  So far, he's averaging a double-double - 23 points and 11 rebounds.

"He's got a motor that just keeps going.  He's not one of the kids that's ever going to get discouraged or get down on himself," Karas said.

In the Section 1AA East final last week, Shanks hit a three that tied the game with less than a minute to go in regulation.  The Bulldogs won it in overtime.

"Just to see him hit that shot against Caledonia late in the game was special for him, because no he's got more confidence out there," Karas said.  He was four-for-eight (from three-point range) in the game, and he knows he can hit it now.  He's just going to keep shooting them."

Now the Bulldogs turn their attention toward the Byron Bears, but no matter what happens in tomorrow night's Section 1AA championship, Shanks likes the future of what he calls a young team.

"We play spring, summer, fall, winter - all the time," Shanks said.  "We've built a lot of good chemistry, and that's going to help us improve."