JOHN CURTIS - Daily Union Sports Editor
SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
Shelbyville--Neoga had no answer for Shelbyville center Brody Bence, even with help defense. Despite getting spurts from different Indians to stay close, the Rams pulled away in crunch time for the 15-point win, 59-44.
Bence had the best game of his career, banging in the box for buckets, stepping out for jump shots and getting to the line. Bence scored 14 times from the floor, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked three shots. Coach Mike Steers paced Bence with other Ram big men throughout the game and kept the 6-7 fresh and out of foul trouble. Bence finished with just one foul.
Bence put the Rams up 3-2, trning strong to the hoop, banging against the defender and getting the foul and making the free throw. He made it 7-4 by stepping out to side of the free throw line and swishing a jumper. The next time down the floor he did it again for a 9-6 lead with 3:18 in the 1st.
Bence then scored in the post with a turn-around jumper, 11-8, and blocked a shot at the Neoga end. Nate Standerfer, the Rams outside shooter, was also making shots, scoring 15 points, 12 in the 2nd half. His one score in the 1st was a trey for a 14-8 lead.
Kersey came off the bench and sank two free throws to keep Neoga close at the end of one, 14-10.
Shelby pushed it out to an 8-point lead to start the 2nd, as Jake Keown pick-pocketed Neoga for two and Bence hit another turn-around shot from the side of the lane, 18-10.
That's when the first Indian stepped up to lead an 8-0 run. Williamson buried a three. The next possession he buried another three, 18-16. Maroon then stopped and popped off-balance to knot the game at 18-18 with 5:22 in the 2nd.
Bence ended the run, scoring in the box, 20-18. J. Baker tied with a pair of free throws, before Shelby went on a 5-0 run to end the half. Cwenton Williams made a free throw, Tucker Schwengel made two and Bence cut through the lane and scored again, 25-20.
The Rams pushed it out to a 8-point lead in the first 1:20 of the 3rd with Bence scoring twice inside and making a free throw, 30-22. Krikie pushed the ball for Neoga in the half-court and got the foul. He made a free throw and then drove again. he was. fouled and on the inbound, he drove again for two, 30-27.
Standerfer and Bence answered. Standerfer missed a shot, but followed it and got the foul. He made the first free throw, then got his own rebound on the second and scored. Bence then scored in transition, 35-27. Standerfer put Shelby up by ten with a jumper from the key, 39-29. He stopped and popped for two, 41-31.
Walk hit a couple of jumpers in the 3rd, but Bence finished the period with a move in the lane and getting fouled with 3 seconds on clock. He made both free throwsfor an 11-point lead, 44-33.
Baker singled handedly tried to bring Neoga back in the 4th. He scored on a lob, then drove for two on the next possession. Bence posted up for two and blocked a Neoga shot. But the ball ended up in Baker's hands and hit nailed a 3-pointer as he posted his own 7-2 run, cutting the Ram lead to six points, 46-40, with 5:20 remaining.
However, the Rams went on a 13-4 run to finish off the Indians.
Bence scored inside. He scored on the next possession, as well, to re-establish the double-digit lead, 50-40. He grabbed another defensive board and was fouled. In transition, Spencer Shadwell drove to the lane and dished to Bence trailing. Bence scored, 52-40.
Standerfer then forced a 5-second call with his defense and broke the Neoga press to score on a lay-up, 54-40. Krikie and Baker split a pair of free throws, each, but Standerfer scored again in transition and was fouled. He completed the 3-point play, 57-42, with 1:08 in the game.
Bence blocked another shot and grabbed a rebound. Shadwell ran a fly pattern on an inbound at mid-court and Ram QB Tucker Schwengel hit him in stride for a 59-42 lead. Baker made both ends of a 1-and-1 to cap Neoga's scoring.
Shelbyville 59, Neoga 44
Ram stats: Bence 32 (14 FGs, 4/7 FTs), Standerfer 15 (5-2s, 1-3 pt FGs, 2/3 FTs), Schwengel 5 (FG, 3/5 FTs), Keown 2 (FG), McConnell 2 (FG), Shadwell 2 (FG). Team FGs 26. 3-Pointers: 1 (Standerfer). Team FTs 10-of-17.
Neoga stats: J. Baker 14 (3-2s, 1-3 pt FGs, 5/6 FTs), Krikie 8 (3 FGs, 2/4 FTs), Walk 8 (4 FGs), Williamson 6 (2-3 pt FGs), Maroon 4 (2 FGs), Kersey 4 (FG, 2/2 FTs). Team FGs 16. 3-Pointers: 3 (Williamson 2, J. Baker). Team FTs 9-of-12.
Shelbyville 53, Neoga 37
Ram stats: Devin Peterson 26 (7-2s, 3-3 pt FGs, 3/4 FTs), Zach Williams 10 (3-2s, 1-3 pt FGs, 1/2 FTs), Cwenton Willimas 6 (2 FGs, 2/2 FTs), Tice Robinson 5 (1-3 pt FG, 2/2 FTs), Josh Foster 3 (FG, 1/2 FTs), Sheldon Meyer 2 (FG), Brett Peifer 1 (1/2 FTs). Team FGs 19. 3-Pointers: 5 (Peterson 3, Z. Willimas, Robinson). Team FTs 10-of-14.
Neo stats: Moore 14 (5 FGs, 4/5 FTs), C. Kersey 10 (5 FGs), Aleshire 7 (3 FGs, 1/1 FTs), Abernathy 2 (FG), Baker 2 (FG), R. Kersey 2 (FG, 0/2 FTs). Team FGs 16. Team FTs 5-of-8.