Shelbyville Lady Ram basketball survived a challenge on opening night from an improved Okaw Valley team, winning down the stretch, 38-34. Okaw Valley won the JV prelim game, 42-27.
On opening night, Shelbyville was without some key individuals from last year and Okaw Valley was very young. It looked to be a close game and it was. Okaw started out with a 6-1 run, followed by a Ram 13-0 run and a half-time Shelbyville lead, 16-9.
Shelbyville had momentum, but they couldn't keep it going in the 2nd half, as their offense went stagnate and Okaw Valley started hitting shots. Ram center Lindsay Burton score early in the 3rd and Shelby built their biggest lead of the game, 20-11. Then Okaw Dash-ed, Shelby Dash-ed.
Scoreless in the 1st half, sophomore Shelby Dash buried a 3 from the wing. Then she split a pair at the line, cutting the 9-point lead in half. Dash went on to lead the Timberwolves in scoring with 11 points, including two 3-pointers and 3-of-5 from the line.
The Rams still led 23-17 heading into the 4th with help from a 3-pointer from Windsor co-op player Lindsay Floyd. However, Dash didn't stop her scoring.
Dash sank two free throws early in the 4th and, on the next possession, Sarah Burch found her inside for a two. Dash then stole the ball and buried her second 3-pointer on an inbound play to erase the 7-point Ram lead and tie the game with 6:30 to play, 24-24.
From that point, the game teeter in the balance on the head of a needle. Okaw senior scorer Sarah Burch broke free from the Ram defense driving and dishing. Ram leading scorer Katelyn Duckett led the Rams with a steady hand earning trips to the line and Shelby/Stew-Stras coop post player Lindsay Burton got some room inside and pushed the Rams over the top.
After Dash tied the game, Floyd scored inside, 26-24 Rams. Burch drove and got to the line for two foul shots and tied the game again, 26-26. Duckett made 1-of-2 foul shots for a Ram lead, 27-26, but Burch found Addie Kesterson on the win for two, giving Okaw their first lead in 16 minutes, since 8 seconds left in the 1st period, 28-27.
Thirty seconds later, Coleman dished to Ram sophomore post player Bailey Ambrose, who scored and got the foul. She completed the conventional 3-point play and gave the Rams back the lead, 30-28 with 4:24 to play.
Duckett drew a foul and made another 1-of-2 trip to the line, 31-28. But Burch pushed the ball and found dash. She missed, but then Burch found freshman Amanda McClain for a short jumper. Burch then stole the ball and went the distance to give Okaw the lead again, 32-31 with 3:15 to play.
Burton drove in the lane for 2 and Shelby had the lead again, 33-32 with 2:55 to play. Burton got inside again and drew a foul, making 1-of-2, 34-32 Shelby. Quicker than snot JV player, Paige Harlin stole a ball and got it to Burch, who hit a short jumper to knot the the game with 1:15 to play, 34-34.
But once again, Burton got loose inside with a spin move and scored, 36-34 with a minute to play. Okaw coach Bruce Manola called time. Harlin drove and missed and then the Timberwolves rest the offense.Burch drove and missed, but Okaw got the ball put of bounds with 28 seconds left. The Rams stripped the ball and tied it up.
The possession arrow went to Shelbyville and Okaw had to foul. Duckett had the ball and shot the super bonus free throws, draining both, 38-34 with 12.2 seconds left. Down by four, Okaw got a shot and missed, then reset. But before they could shoot, the clock expired.
Shelbyville (1-0) travels to Brownstown on Thursday and Okaw Valley (0-1) plays Sullivan on Thursday.
Shelbyville 38, Okaw Valley 34
Shelby stats: Katelyn Duckett 12 (1-2, 2-3 pt FGs, 4/7 FTs), Lindsay Burton 11 (5 FGs, 1/4 FTs), Lindsay Floyd 5 (1-2, 1-3 pt FG), Bailey Ambrose 3 (FG, 1/1 FTs), Katelyn Coleman 3 (3/6 FTs), Morgan Voyles 2 (FG), Miranda Bricker 2 (FG, 0/1 FTs). Team FGs 13 (3-3s). Team FTs 9-of-19.
Okaw stats: Shelby Dash 11 (1-2, 2-3 pt FGs, 3/5 FTs), Sarah Burch 9 (3 FGs, 3/4 FTs), Amanda McClain 6 (3 FGs), Tiara Ryherd 4 (2 FGs), Addie Kesterson 2 (FG), Keri Herold 2 (FG). Team FGs 13 (2-3s). Team FTs 6-of-9.
Okaw Valley 42, Shelbyville 27
Okaw stats: Paige Harlin 15 (4 FGs, 4/7 FTs), Amy Orris 12 (5 FGs, 2/2 FTs), Keri Herold 7 (3 FGs, 1/2 FTs), Destinee Nave 4 (2 FGs), Abby Weybright 4 (2 FGs). Team FGs 17 (1-3). Team FTs 7-of-11.
Shelby stats: Madison Boone 10 (5 FGs), Alex Johnston 8 (4 FGs), Bri Ruff 6 (3 FGs), Lea Knoop 2 (FG), Jensen Cloe 1 (1/3 FTs), Olivia Williamson (0/1 FT). Team FGs 13. Team FTs 1-of-4.
*Watch for web updates with the complete story and photos.