VERSAILLES — Coaching together at any level in basketball leads to friendships off the court. As most coaches can relate, they spend a lot of time together, especially during the season coming up with the best gameplans to help get their teams prepared for each game. For Shelbyville head coach Ryan Mack and South Ripley head coach Tyler Theising, who was a former assistant under Mack at SHS, their friendship remains active to this day.
“He’s a really good coach,” Mack said of Theising, who is in his second season with the Raiders. “That’s why we hired him at Shelbyville. He’s a great defensive coach.”
On Saturday, the two friends went head-to-head at the South Ripley Holiday Classic.
Both coaches are known to be defensive-minded, and their defenses were on full display in the second and third quarters of the game. Shelbyville would take a 17-15 lead into the second quarter, but the Raider would begin to pull away as they outscored the Golden Bears 17-2 in the quarter, making the score 32-19 in favor of South Ripley heading into the half.
“It’s funny when we coached together; we butted heads on changing defenses,” Theising said. “Giving your opponent a different look throughout the game… I think that was big for us (Saturday).”
Mack knew the changing of the defenses made a big difference in the game.
“Him going to the 1-3-1 in the second quarter (made a difference),” Mack said. “It’s funny… we talked last night, and we were talking about the last time we played Delta together two years ago and took the game over. Credit to those guys (South Ripley) for taking us down here.”
After a slow second quarter, the Golden Bears responded in the third quarter as Luke Asher scored five of his game-high 28 points in the frame. Jack Baker was key, as well, knocking down three 3-pointers during a 14-0 run that brought the Golden Bears within striking distance (down 41-37) heading into the fourth quarter.
Both squads would trade basket after basket in the fourth quarter. Asher scored five straight points, including getting a left-handed layup to go to bring the Golden Bears within one point with just a few minutes left in the game. That was as close as Shelbyville (6-6) would get as South Ripley (5-3) would knock down its free throws, giving the home team the 58-49 win.
“It was fun coaching against him,” Theising said. “It’s still hard, because I still root for Shelbyville. I still root for Coach Mack, I want them to be the most successful team out there. Unfortunately, someone has to lose in a game.”
Both coaches were treated to a well-played game, and Coach Theising can say he has one up on his friend. We all look forward to the next time these great friends, and now friendly rivals, square off again.
Note: SHS beat Rock Creek Academy 54-42 Saturday in its second tournament game. Bishop Chatard then beat South Ripley 65-57 in the title contest.
Justin Powell is a Sports intern for The Shelbyville News. Follow Justin on Twitter @Justin_Powell24.