John Curtis Daily Union Sports Editor
Shelbyville Daily Union
---- — The Shelbyville Ram varsity basketball team is 4-8 (1-0 Okaw) midway through the season. But they could easily be 8-4.
“We’ve gotta hit outside shots,” said Shelbyville varsity basketball coach Stu Hott. “The press is good. Our defense is good. But like against Neoga, if we don’t make outside shots, they pack in against our big men.”
Shelby started the re-tooling season with a close loss to Hillsboro, 58-55, then survived Windsor, 56-51. They missed outside shots and lost to Okaw Valley, 68-60. The Rams were out-gunned by Pana from distance and lost, 89-73. Shelby then dismantled Stew-Stras, 79-60, and then Maroa, 44-28, in their first conference contest.
Heading to the Vandalia Holiday Tourney the Rams were on a 2-game win streak (3-3, 1-0 Okaw). Then the lack of outside efficiency killed them. They lost the first four tourney games and had too many turnovers and too few free throws.
“We kept doing the same things over and over,” Coach Hott said. “We have played well enough to win eight or nine games, then we do some silly stuff.”
In the final game at Vandy, the Rams made 12 treys and blew out South Central for 9th place. Then at Neoga, it was back to an outside drought that ended up hampering their inside superiority.
“These kids won eight games two years ago, sophomores v. sophomores,” Coach Hott said. “Last year, they won 10 games, juniors v. juniors. We set a goal after Vandalia to get six more wins and finish with 10 wins, go .500 in the conference, and hopefully peak at regionals. We can still do it, if we could hit some outside shots.”
Friday, the Rams travel to Altamont for a rematch. They challenged Altamont late at Vandalia, but lost 46-39.
Through 12 games, the Rams shot 40% of their field goal attempts from 3-point land and made 30% (222 pts). They shot 60% of their attempts from 2-point territory and made 49% (374 pts). The three big men shot 57% inside the arc and the rest of the team shot 41.4% inside the arc. Three-point shooting brings the overall team percentage down to 41% in their first 12 games.
Free throws have not been a savior for the Rams. They averaged just 11 per game and made just five (47%). They have rebounded well, 338 in 12 games (28.2 p/g), but have just 58 assists (4.8 p/g) and 45 steals (3.8 p/g).
Guard Spencer Shadwell leads the Rams with 135 points (11.3 ppg), followed by post players Cwenton Williams with 119 (9.9 ppg) and Luke McConnell with 118 (9.8 ppg). Shadwell leads the team with 21 assists. McConnell leads the team with 93 rebounds, followed by Williams (53) and Shadwell (46). Shadwell leads the Rams with twenty 3-pointers (36%).