JOHN CURTIS - Daily Union Sports Editor
SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
On Saturday before Christmas Moulton boys basketball and Okaw Valley played a rescheduled set with the Rams getting a sweep. Ram 7th won, 37-28, and Ram 8th won, 35-18.
The Moulton 7th boys were going for their 5th straight win to start the day and they did not disappoint. They took a small lead in the 1st period, held it until the half, then exploded to vault into a 15-point that swelled until the final buzzer.
Shelby got scores from four different players in the 1st period, while Okaw had just two players score.
Brett Spears got on the board early. Mason Cameron got on the board and Turner Pullen got on the board, all with solo twos. Tylr Gottfriedt, who led the Rams in scoring in their previous win, made 2-of-2 free throws and a bucket for four points. Garrett Fritz made two free throws for Okaw and Cody Drake made the only field goal, 10-6 Rams.
The 2nd period was almost even. Gottfriedt scored twice more times in the 2nd, Pullen converted a 3-point play and Quinn Martz scored for 9 points. Fritz, who led all scorers in the game with 12 points, led all scorers in the 2nd with six points. He made a pair of free throws, hit a two, and made two more free throws. Jared Bunfill made a deuce for eight Okaw points. Shelby led by five at the break, 19-14.
The Timberwolves were still within striking distance when they came out of the locker room, but that changed pretty quick, as Shelby went on a 10-0 run. Gottfriedt split a pair at the line, Martz scored, Cade Watson made 1-of-2 free throws, then scored twice. Brayden Young came off the bench to score twice and Okaw went O-for.
Leading 29-14 to start the 4th, the Rams looked to have the game locked. Substitutes were liberally rotated, but Okaw began to chop away at the lead, with the help of four buckets, one a trey and eight free throw attempts.
Austin Harshman scored. Fritz scored, Bunfill went to the line and made 1-of-2, then 2-of-2. Fritz scored and made two free throws. Harshman nailed a 3-pointer and it got too close for comfort. The Rams put the starters back in.
They were able to right the ship. Gottfriedt scored, Watson scored, Pullen scored and Spears scored as the Rams re-inflated their lead to nine points by the closing bell.
Free throws were key to Okaw staying close early and making a game of it in the 4th. Okaw was 11-of-15 and the Rams were just 5-of-12. Okaw’s Fritz was 8-of-8 and Bunfill was 3-of-7. Shelby’s Gottfriedt made 3-of-5, Pullen was 1-for-1, but the Rams missed six more free throws, making just 2-of-7 in the 2nd half.
Shelbyville 37, Okaw Valley 28
Ram stats: Gottfriedt 11 (4 FGs, 3/5 FTs), Watson 7 (3 FGs, 1/5 FTs), Pullen 7 (3 FGs, 1/1 FTs), Spears 4 (2 FGs), Young 4 (2 FGs), Martz 2 (FG), Cameron 2 (FG). Team FGs 16. Team FTs 5-of-12.
Okaw stats: Frits 12 (2 FGs, 8/8 FTs), Bunfill 5 (FG, 3/7 FTs), Harshman 5 (1-2, 1-3 pt FGs), Drake 4 (2 FG), Brooks 2 (FG). Team FGs 8 (1-3). Team FTs 11-of-15.
In the 8th grade matinee, Okaw took an early lead, but evaporated in the searing heat of a 2nd period Ram full-court press. Shelby kept the pressure on an broke open a 4-point half-time lead into a double-digit margin heading into the 4th. The Ram lead continued to grow to the point that the Rams almost doubled the Okaw effort.
Nobody scored in the first two minutes of the game. Grant Sims broke the ice for Shelby with a put back. Colton Cloyd buried two free throws for the tie. Taylor Coleman stole the ball for Okaw and Tyler Nichols was fouled. He made two free throws for the 4-2 lead.
The Rams couldn’t buy a basket. But Okaw went to the line again. Tyus Brooks was fouled with no time remaining and made 1-of-2 foul shots for a 5-2 Okaw lead at the end of one. However, after the 1st, the Rams out-scored Okaw 33-13.
Sims posted up to open the 2nd and scored. On the inbound play, the Rams slapped a press on Okaw. They got the turnover and Justin Hopper scored. On the next inbound, Dillon Birch stole the ball and Keaton Plummer drove down the lane for two for a 6-0 run in the first minute of the 2nd and an 8-5 Ram lead.
Brooks was fouled and made both free throws, 8-7 Rams. A Ram press forced another loose ball and Keaton Plummer scored on another lay-up. Hunter Plummer got a steal, then Birch got another steal. Sims was fouled, then on the inbound play Sims drove the lane for two, 12-7 Rams.
Okaw big Tyus Brooks picked off a Ram pass in the half-court and took it to the rack for two. Nichols missed a shot, but got his own rebound and scored, making it a 1-point game, 12-11. Trevor Hendryx split a pair at the stripe, then the Rams forced another turnover. Evan Blakey responded with his own steal for Okaw. Okaw missed a shot, got the board and missed a 3. They got another board, but missed. They drew a foul, took it out and missed again, having a 45 second possession, four shots, but coming away empty.
Inside a minute until half, Hendryx cut along the base line and scored, 15-11 Rams. The Rams grabbed the lead early in the 2nd, but then the game disintegrated until the half.
Shelby took control in the 3rd. Hopper got a steal to open the 2nd half, but Nichols blocked two shots at the Ram end. Cloyd then scored for a 2-point game, 15-13. Hopper scored on his own put back, but Cloyd answered again.
Keaton Plummer had a steal and was fouled. Sims scored off a base line jumper and Okaw called time-out, 19-15. Okaw tried a trey and missed and Keaton Plummer dished to Jordan Seiger for two, 21-15.
With 1:38 left in the 3rd, Shelby made it an 9-0 run, as Sims converted a 3-point play, stole the ball and scored on a put back. Shelby led by 11 heading into the 4th, 26-15.
Shelby went on a 9-0 run over the first 5:00 of the 4th period. Sims drove for two