By JEFF BROWN – email@example.com
EDINBURGH — Megan Eads had that sick feeling.
So did the rest of her team — the one that lost 18 straight games to finish last season and failed to score 30 points in a game more times than any Golden Bear wants to remember.
Head coach Jason West saw that frustration in his team’s body language at halftime of its season opener Friday at Edinburgh. A 1-for-12 shooting performance in the second quarter negated a strong opening eight minutes and left Shelbyville trailing 24-19.
“I got in the lockerroom and looked at them and I could see they were thinking here we go again,” said West. “I told them they were playing great and shots would fall.”
West was right.
The first play of the third quarter set up Eads for a corner 3-pointer — and the sophomore swished it. Then she did it again … and again … and again for a 12-point third quarter that kickstarted the Golden Bears to a rousing 59-44 victory.
Eads finished with a game-high 18 points. Olivia Byrd added 16 points and six assists and Olivia Knarr just missed a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds. Carris Decatur and Holly Hickman combined for 15 rebounds.
Eads missed five of her first six long-range shots — all in the first half. But that first make in the third quarter gave her confidence and she did not miss the rest of the night.
“I was getting down at first and losing my confidence and coach West said maintain being confident and that brought me into the third quarter,” said Eads. “Once I started hitting those 3s, more confidence started building up.”
The Golden Bears (1-0) and Lancers (2-1) traded 3s throughout the third quarter but the tempo of the game and Shelbyville’s depth started wearing on Edinburgh. Rotating 10 players consistently drained the Lancers’ legs — and that slowed them down.
Trailing 35-27 midway through the third quarter, Eads hit a long 3-pointer from the top of the key. Knarr scored on Shelbyville’s next possession and Eads hit an open 3 from the wing to quickly tie the game. Following a Holly Hickman missed 3, Knarr grabbed the offensive rebound and scored to give the Golden Bears the lead.
Destini Myers sank a 12 footer with 46 seconds left in the quarter — Edinburgh’s only points over the final four minutes — to tie the game again. But Eads hit another 3 and Byrd drove to the rim and scored to give the visitors a 42-37 lead after three quarters.
“I don’t even remember how many I hit. I was just playing,” said Eads when asked if she knew how many 3s she hit in the quarter.
Shelbyville extended its lead to double digits in the fourth quarter and held Edinburgh scoreless over the final 4:40.
“And that’s what is different about this team than last year,” said West. “We do have some depth. And we have athletes. Knarr, (Ryan) Massey and Decatur — as seniors — did a heck of a job just knowing the game, understanding what’s going on and just playing the game. They gave us good things all night.”
Destiney Ramey led Edinburgh with 17 points. Sidney Beier finished with 13.
Edinburgh outscored Shelbyville 41-5 in the second half of the junior varsity game to secure a 48-13 victory. Callie Hancock had 23 points for Edinburgh. Jaidyn Tackett led Shelbyville with 6 points.
Shelbyville vs. Edinburgh
Final Score: 59-44 Shelbyville
Player of Game: Shelbyville G Megan Eads