JOHN CURTIS - Daily Union Sports Editor
SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
Conference leading St. Teresa came to Shelbyville for the Ram Senior Night and after opening with a 9-2 run, the Rams dug in, played stymie defense and got back in the game and trailed by three with less than 2:00 to play.
Senior Nate Standerfer, the Ram 3-point shootist had been shut out from the arc for over 30:00. But he hit a corner 3 with a hand in his face to tie the game with 1:27 left, 40-40. The Ram defense turned St. T away at the basket and the Rams had the ball with 26 seconds remaining. With one time out left and nowhere near being in the bonus, the Rams ran clock.
With 12 seconds left, the Rams stayed calm and kept working the ball. Senior Darin Breeden passed up a difficult shot from the arc. With 3 seconds left, Nate Standerfer lifted a 3 with a Dawg closing out on him. It hit nothing, but the bottom of the net, for the upset win, 43-40.
After trailing 14-8 after the 1st, 25-20 at the half, and 35-33 heading into the final frame, the Rams held St. T to just two points in the final period. The 4th quarter was gut-check time and the Ram seniors represented.
Senior center Brody Bence got the opening tip, but St. T scored first with a Kurtis Minton 3. Bence hit a jumper from the key, but then St. scored nine straight capped by a Ross Anderson trey, 12-2. Bence made a hook shot over Anderson to break the run.
Chris Williams hit a pull-up jumper for St. T, then Spencer Shadwell answered, faking a shot then popping for two. Bence didn't take any stuff from St. T in this game. He went right to the hole in transition against Anderson and drew the hard foul. He splashed both free throws. St. T ran clock the final :44 of the 1st, but missed the shot, leaving them a 6-point lead, 14-18.
The Ram defense stiffened in the 2nd and they didn't back down. Luke McConnell dished to Bence inside, who was triple-teamed. Bence fought through it and scored, 16-10. McConnell got a defensive rebound and Bence hit McConnell cutting to the hole. McConnell was fouled and drained both shots, 16-12.
J.D. Mattingly scored on a put back and got the foul. He made it to re-establish a 7-point Dawg lead, 19-12. Breeden nailed a two from the free throw line, but St. T answered. With 3:05 left in the half, Breeden scored on a back cut, 21-16.
Williams stole a ball and took it in for a Dawg score. Breedn missed a trey, but Senior Tucker Schwengel got the put back and fought through two defenders to score. St. T scored on a short jumper. Bence then made room underneath and spun around for the bank, 25-20.
St. T tried to run clock again with 44 seconds left in the half, but senior guard Jake Keown pressed the ball and got a 5 second call. The Rams got the ball with 8 seconds left and denied St. a final shot again.
The Rams have had trouble scoring in the 3rd in some games this season, but on Senior Night they won the 3rd.
St. T missed a shot and Bence struck again with a jumper from the key, 25-22. St. T scored inside, but Bence shot a fade in the post and was held by Anderson. Bence completed the 3-point play at the line, 27-25.
The Ram defense caused a turnover and Breedn brought it coast to coast, spinning at the rim and tying the game with 5:06 in the 3rd, 27-27. St. T needed a time-out after the 7-2 Ram run to start the 3rd.
St. scored, but Breeden got a offensive rebound and spun at the rim and put it up and in for the 2nd tie, 29-29. St. missed a three and Bence hit another hook for the first Ram lead of the game with 3:10 in the 3rd, 31-29.
Williams nailed a 3-pointer for St. T lead, 32-34. Williams was feeling it and with his long arms, he stole a skip pass. He threw a long pass to Laukaitis breaking to the bucket for two. On the very next Ram possession, Williams stole another skip pass. Bence blocked a shot, but was called for the foul. The Rams trailed 35-31.
The Rams turned the ball over for the third straight possession, but St. T couldn't convert. Bence missed a trey, but then blocked a shot at the other end and grabbed the ball out of the air. He was assaulted, but was called for the foul. St. T got the ball, but Bence blocked another shot.
At the Ram end Bence went to the baseline and hit a jumper with 10 seconds left in the period, 35-33. The Rams denied the shot at the other end at the close of the 3rd.
A minute and a half into the 4th, Shadwell drove and shot a floater. It missed, but Shadwell reached out and tapped it to Standerfer who made the put back for the tie, 35-35. Bence defended a shot, but Williams poked another ball away for a St. T fast break. The Rams fouled and St. T missed both free throws.
With 4:08 to play, Breedn was fouled, Standerfer missed a three and Breeden got the rebound. He twisted his way through the defense and scored for the Ram lead, 37-35.
The Rams defended a shot, defended another shot, then fouled. St. T made 1-of-2 free throws. Another Ram turnover on a pass led to a St. T fast break two and the lead, 38-37 with 3:00 left.
With 2:00 left Williams drove and dished to Anderson inside for two and a 3-point lead, 40-37. That's when Standerfer pulled a Die Hard and became "that guy." He hit his first triple of the game under duress for the tie with 1:27 left, 40-40.
Williams tried to drive again and Schwengel turned him away at the rim and got the rebound. The rest is history. The Rams ran the final 26 seconds down to 3 and Standerfer made the shot heard around the conference, dropping St. T into a 4-way tied for 1st with one game to go.
Standerfer was the hero scoring all eight of his points in crunch time, but Bence carried the Rams again. Bence scored a game-high 19 points all in the first three periods. He had eight tough field goals and went 3-of-3 at the line. Breeden was a whirling dervish for 10 points, all from the floor.
Shelbyville only got to the line for five free throws, but they made all five. Bence had three and back-up forward Luke McConnell had the other two free throws. St. T got to the line for nine free throws, but missed six in a 3-point defeat.
Shelbyville 43, St. Teresa 40
St. T 14-11-10-2--40
Ram stats: Bence 19 (8 FGs, 3/3 FTs), Breeden 10 (5 FGs), Standerfer 8 (1-2, 2-3 pt FGs), Schwengel 2 (FG), Shadwell 2 (FG), McConnell 2 (2/2 FTs). Team FGs 18. 3-Pointers: 2 (Standerfer). Team FTs 5-of-5.
St. T stats: Anderson 11 (4-2s, 1-3 pt FGs), Williams 9 (3-2s, 1-3 pt FGs), Laukaitis 7 (3 FGs, 1/2 FTs), Mattingly 5 (2 FGs, 1/1 FTs), Minton 4 (1-3 pt FG, 1/2 FTs), Althoff 4 (2 FGs, 0/2 FTs). Team FGs 17. 3-Pointers: 3 (Minton, Williams, Anderson). Team FTs 3-of-9.