Jake Elam asserted himself again against Sullivan, won the point guard battle, again, and pushed the Rams forward to the regional semifinal with a 65-52 victory over the Redskins in the first round of the Shelbyville Regional Monday night.

The last time these two teams played Elam had a game-high 22 points. On Monday night, Elam had a game-high 24 points. Elam scored a couple of buckets early, led the Rams to a 9-point lead at the break, then finished with 11 of his 24 points in crunch time when the Rams extended their lead to as many as 16 points.

Elam, a senior, won the point guard battle against up-and-coming sophomore Redskin Chance Typer. Typer fired at will from the floor and led the ‘Skins with 14 points. In the last meeting, Typer had eleven points to Elam’s 22.

Jay Nottingham, who had 21 points for the Rams in the last meeting with Sullivan, had 15 points this trip. He only went to the line once, where last time he was 7-of-9. Torry Schloz stepping up for the Rams was a difference in this game. Schloz was a double-digit performer with 17 points. Schloz came off the bench to hit some key outside shots, including a pair of treys in the first half and a triply of twos in the fourth quarter.

Craig Black and Chris Marrs were the other two scoring leaders for Sullivan. Black, a jump-shooter, scored 9-of-11 points from the free throw line. Marrs had twelve points, including stepping out for a triple in the fourth quarter to keep the Rams from completely running away.

The game started with Sullivan’s Jacob Peterson trying to steal the opening tip, hitting the ball on the way up against Jay Nottingham. The Rams got the ball, but after a couple of missed trips by both teams, Marrs converted a Ram 3 miss into coast-to-coast bucket, drawing first blood,1:20 into the contest.

Nottingham answered with a move into the paint for two and tied the score, 2-2. Two misses at the Sully end gave way to a Nottingham jumper in the lane for a 4-2 Ram lead. Sullivan was called for an unforced traveling call and Elam took the ball at the Ram point, looked away, then stepped in, stopped and popped for two, 6-2 Rams.

Typer hit a jumper. 6-4, then Shelby double-dribbled. Nottingham put up a shot short, one of a handful on the night, and Marrs converted a rebound into points on the ‘Skin glass, tying the game at 6-6.

Nottingham answered again with a baseline two, 8-6 with 3:55 left in the first. Peterson was fouled on a shot and made the second of two free throws, 8-7 Rams. Alternating turnovers and a Ram 3 miss left the door open for Sullivan to take a lead.

Mike VanDeursen got a put-back bucket at the 2:30 mark and gave Sully the lead, 9-8.

Nottingham missed another shot and Marrs, from the high post, found Peterson on a baseline cut underneath for two, and a three-point lead for the Redskins, 11-8, with two minutes left in the first.

Elam found Nottingham at the rim for two, cutting the ‘Skin lead to one, 11-10. Sullivan missed two shots then fouled. The Rams got the ball inside to Nottingham. who kicked it out to Schloz for his first trifecta, giving the Rams the lead, 13-11. Peterson hit a jumper to tie the game at 13-13 with 15 seconds left in the first.

What time was it? Elam time. With the clock winding down, Elam had the ball at the pints and drove. He scored the lay-up with five seconds left and the full-court Redskin shot at the buzzer failed to find the rim, 15-13 Rams.

In the second period, Elam matched the entire Redskin out-put and helped the Rams build a 9-point lead at the break. The period started with alternating miss-fires, as the defenses got feisty. Marrs scored on a put-back to tie the game for the last time at 15-15 after almost two minutes had gone by.

Another minute went by without a score. On an inbound play, Caine Cloe crossed the lane wit the ball and realized he was open, stopped and hit the jumper for the Ram lead, 17-15 at 4:50 of the second. Shelby led from that point.

Elam stole the ball at the ‘Skin end and brought it coast to coast for a two and the foul, as he was undercut by Clay Winskill on the lay-up. Elam missed the free throw, but the Rams were building their lead. Black made 1-of-2 free throws, then Elam drove again for two and the foul. He converted this three-point play and the Rams were up 22-16.

Black scored on a baseline jumper, but the Rams answered with Schloz’ second triple, this time out of the offensive set, 25-18 Rams. Typer scored on a jumper, but Schloz came right back, driving right u the gut on a transition pay and it was 27-20 Rams.

Elam had the ball once again inside a minute before the half. With 45 seconds until the half, The Rams tried to work the ball, but couldn’t get anything easy. Elam pulled it back out and with six seconds left drove toward the basket. He scored again, this time with three seconds left, and gave the Rams a 29-20 lead at the break.

Typer opened the second half with a long two, 29-22 Rams. Isaac Smith drove the baseline for Shelbyville and earned trip to the foul line. Smith buried both shots, 31-22 Rams. Marrs scored on an inbound pay, then VanDeursen on the next Sully possession, cutting the Ram lead to five, 31-26.

Caine Cloe then made space and scored. Nottingham missed a shot, Cloe flashed in to get the rebound, but had a bigger man looming over his back waiting to block a shot. Cloe backed up and moved the defender out of the lane, then stepped to the rim for the two and the foul. Cloe missed the free throw, but got the Shelby lead back to seven, 33-26.

On the next Ram possession, Elam drove past two defenders on the wing and slashed past Marrs coming up to defend, Elam laid it up at the dish for two and another 9-point lead, 35-26. Black made a pair of free throws. Schloz tried to shoot a baseline jumper, but Black knocked him off balance with a body foul and Schloz made both free throws, 37-28 Rams.

Peterson got two inside and Nottingham was shoved in the back on the post, missed a shot and was called for a rebound foul. A half-court trap against Elam, turned the ball over to Marrs who threw a head to VanDeursen who was fouled on the shot. He made both shots, cutting the lead to five again, 37-32.

Nottingham hit another long hook shot, 39-32 Rams. Nottingham rebounded a Sullivan three miss, then the Rams brought it on the transition. Elam lasered a pass across the lane to Jason Barker who couldn’t gather in the short hop. The referee blew the whistle on a phantom violation, awarded Sullivan the ball, then had to try and assuage Ram coach Ben Borries.

On the next Ram possession, Schloz drove and was slapped across the face, earning a trip to the line. He made 1-of-2. Typer used a screen to bury a jump shot and it was a 6-point game, 40-34. Failures to convert offensive rebounds by Sullivan over the next minute and an empty trip to the line would haunt them.

Typer scored to open the fourth quarter and the lead was down to four 40-36. But, Elam drove right down Main Street on the ensuing Ram possession. Typer got a put-back and the point-guard battle was one again, 42-38 Rams. Nottingham scored on a baseline move and got the foul call. He converted the three-point play and it was 45-38 Rams.

Sullivan began to press, but the Rams beat it and Elam hit a jump shot, for a 9-point lead again, 47-38. Marrs made 1-of-2 foul shots. Schloz missed a jump shot badly, but made up for it with a steal at the Sullivan end. He brought it full speed to the rack with ‘Skins in pursuit and there was contact, sending him off balance out of bounds.

There was no foul call, but one of the Redskins slapped the backboard trying to block Schloz’ lay-up and was called for goal-tending, giving the Rams a 10-point lead, 49-39 with 5:22 remaining in the game. Nottingham drove for two, but didn’t get the foul call, giving the Rams a 12-point lead, 51-39.

Erin Nichols made 1-of-2 foul shots, Black made both ends of a 1-and-1. Elam drove, was held, continued to the hole, then Peterson was called for a blocking foul. Elam made both shots, 54-41 Rams. Nottingham snatched a Redskin rebound and got the ball to Schloz who scored on the break, 56-41. Ben Wheeler made 1-of-2 foul shots, then Elam was fouled again and made both of his throws, 58-43 Rams.

Peterson fouled Elam again. Peterson fouled out and Elam made 1-of-2 shots for the largest Ram lead of the game, 59-43 with 2:00 left. Marrs hit his solo trey on a set play to try to stem the tide, 59-46. But, Elam came right back with a baseline drive for two, 61-46. Marrs tried to dial up another three, but got a busy signal in the form of a Nottingham defense.

Black made two free throws, then Nichols got two foul shots off the Redskin press, 63-48 with a minute to play. Cloe fouled out and Black went to the line for two. Schloz beat Typer on a baseline two and capped Shelby’s scoring with 25 seconds left, 65-50. Typer made a pair of free throws with 20 seconds left, but the game was over. The Rams got the ball across the ten-second line and dribbled out the clock.

Shelbyville will play Pana on Wednesday night in the first Regional semifinal at 6 p.m.

Shelbyville 65, Sullivan 52

Shelbyville 15-14-11-25—65

Sullivan 13-7-14-18—52

Shelby stats: Elam 24 (9 FG’s, 6/8 FT’s), Schloz 17 (4-2’s, 2-3 pt FG’s, 3/4 FT’s), Nottingham 15 (7 FG’s, 1/1 FT’s), Nichols 3 (3/4 FT’s), Smith 2 (2/2 FT’s). Team field goals 24. 3-pointers: 2 (Schloz). Team free throws 15-of-20.

Sullivan stats: Typer 14 (6 FG’s, 2/4 FT’s), Marrs 12 (4-2’s, 1-3 pt FG, 1/2 FT’s), Black 11 (FG, 9/10 FT’s), Peterson 7 (3 FG’s, 1/2 FT’s), M. VanDeursen 6 (2 FG’s, 2/2 FT’s), Wheeler 2 (2/2 FT’s). Team field goals 17. 3-pointers: 1 (Marrs). Team free throws 17-of-22.

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