JOHN CURTIS - Daily Union Sports Editor
SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
Last year, the Shelbyville Moulton Ram 8th grade lost both their games against Central A&M. They circled Thursday's date when they would host A&M and exacted revenge winning by 24 points, 47-23.
As 7th graders, A&M playing at home bullied the Rams in their first meeting a year ago. In the 2nd meeting, the Rams just didn't play well and fell again. On Thursday, it was the Rams that were quicker and more aggressive. Central A&M was coming off a disappointing loss to Sullivan and the funk continued.
A&M couldn't buy a basket early and never got on track from outside. Their big man Beau Branyon, nimble-footed and a better shot than Shaq, carried them inside, but still missed more shots than normal. Branyon was held to just 10 points. Riley Black was injured for a while and Tate Paradee was injured and left the game. That didn't help when A&M was trying to get back on track.
Shelbyville didn't really heat up the nets from outside either, except for two 3-pointers from Payton Howell. After missing some point blank lay-ups early, the Rams settled down and the rout was on.
Turner Pullen scored a game-high 22 points, making good decisions and using quick feet to out-nimble Branyon and get to the rim for 10 buckets. Tylr Gottfriedt was a little erratic on offense, but in the 2nd period he helped fuel a 20-8 run getting frequent flyer miles to the charity stripe. Gottfriedt cashed in, making 7-of-8 free throws and finishing with 11 points.
Shelbyville earned seven trips to the foul line, making 11-of-14 (78.5%), while A&M got there just four times, all Branyon, and he was 4-of-8 (50%).
Gottfriedt won the opening tip and the Rams were off 'n runnin.' Cade Watson went right to the rim and was fouled. He split a pair and Shelby was up 1-0. Branyon was fouled and he made 1-of-1. That would be the only tie of the game and Shelby would never trail.
Pullen scored six of the next nine points, with Howell sinking a trey in the midst of the run. Black scored on the inside, but the Rams ran a text book response against the A&M press and Pullen scored again. A&M missed again and Gottfriedt got to the line to make it, 11-3 Shelby.
A&M scored first in the 2nd on a Branyon put back, before Cade Watson scored, 13-5. A&M missed and Pullen drove the base line for two. Branyon answered, then Howell teed up another bomb from downtown, 18-7. Black drove and scored, but again, Pullen drove for two. Gottfriedt stole the ball and was fouled. He buried both shots.
A&M had two misses and Mason Cameron took a fast break to the hole and was fouled. He made 1-of-2. A&M missed two more shots and Gottfriedt pulled up for a base line jumper for two. Pullen scored inside again, in what was an 9-0 run. Black had a put back, but Gottfriedt was fouled again. He made both shots.
After an A&M turnover, Gottfriedt was fouled again. He made both ends of a 1-and-1 and put Shelby up 20, 31-11. The 1st half Ram highlights came to a close with Peyton Koonce taking a charge to deny A&M at the rim.
Branyon opened the 3rd period scoring with a two, then Pullen was fouled. He made both shots. Shelby stole the ball on the press, missed twice, then A&M stole the ball. On the play Paradee went down holding his arm. On the next Ram possession, Howell slipped inside and got the ball for two. Watson stole the ball, but Pullen was defended on the break, as A&M knocked the ball out. On the inbound, Pullen scored on a 6-2 run, 37-13.
Jameson Smith splashed the only A&M 3 of the game with 3:00 left in the 3rd. Missed shots and turnovers on both sides as the ball changed hands 11 times. Gottfriedt ended the 2:15 scoreless spell with a steal and a bucket, 39-16. Branyon made 1-of-2 foul shots and A&M had the ball back before the end of the period, but the Rams stole the ball again for a half-court shot at the buzzer that missed.
Branyon opened the 4th splitting a pair again at the line. Pullen went back to work and made the next two baskets for a 25-point lead, 43-18.
Black scored on an inbound play, A&M stole the ball and Colton Hubner took it the hole. It was the only time in the game that A&M scored on consecutive possessions. Shelby broke the press again and Pullen scored again with 4:00 left in the game, 45-22.
Shelby subs came in. Branyon got to the line, making 1-of-2 and A&M subs came in with 3:40 left. Daythan Summer stole the ball for Shelby and took it in for the basket, capping the scoring with 3;15 remaining, 47-23.
Shelbyville 47, Central A&M 23
Shelby stats: Pullen 22 (10 FGs, 2/2 FTs), Gottfriedt 11 (2 FGs, 7/8 FTs), Howell 8 (1-2, 2-3 pt FGs), Cade Watson 3 (FG, 1/2 FTs), Daythan Summers 2 (FG), Mason Cameron 1 91/2 FTs). Team FGs 17 (2-3s). Team FTs 11-of-14.
A&M stats: Branyon 10 (3 FGs, 4/8 FTs), Black 8 (4 FGs), Jameson Smith 3 (FG), Colton Hubner 2 (FG). Team FGs 8 (1-3). Team FTs 4-of-8.