Undefeated Shelbyville basketball was up by 22 points to start the 4th quarter on Tuesday. They lost momentum and Neoga erupted like a wildfire with a 27-10 run. The Rams made free throws down the stretch to escape the fire, 92-82.
The two teams combined for 174 points, 92 and 82 points are season-highs for both teams. Both teams scored 31 field goals, each. Neoga made two more 3s and so led 73-72 from the floor.
However, Shelbyville made 20-of-23 free throws and Neoga just 9-of-17. Calm control at the free throw line made the difference in the ball game, despite all the other sound and fury.
Neoga sophomore Reece Johnson was the game's leading scorer with 40 points. He scored 15 times from the floor. He made half a dozen twos and nine, count'em,' nine 3-pointers.
Shelby's Malcolm Miller had another 30-point game, scoring 33. He made 12 buckets, including a trey hat trick, and was 6-of-9 at the line.
Sophomore Kade Kull followed with a season-high 27 points. Kull had 7 baskets, including a 3-point hat trick. The impressive stat was Kull stroked 10-of-10 free throws.
The Rams took an early lead, 9-2, after Malcolm Miller nailed a 3, his only bucket of the 1st. Kull scored three times and sophomore Braden Nichols made a trey and a deuce. Junior guard Payton Bryant also scored.
Despite the quick lead, Neoga came back and won the 1st, 19-18. Johnson had a trey, a deuce, and a trey. Trevor Roy made a 3 and two free throws. Levi Peters scored twice and Chase Banning made a deuce.
Shelby went on a 10-0 run to start the 2nd. Miller and Kull took over the 2nd. Miller made a trey and two. He converted a 3-point play, then a triple and a two for 13 points in the quarter.
Kull sank a trey and a deuce, then went to the line making all four free throws for 9 points. Bryant scored twice and Leo Logue struck from downtown in the 29-18 run.
Johnson kept leading Neoga in the 2nd, but got help from Mitchell Cornell. Johnson had a deuce and a trey and a deuce and a trey for 10 points. Cornell made a triple and two twos. Peters split a pair at the line, but Neoga lost the 1-point lead and was down 10 at the break, 47-37.
The Rams held on to momentum and the tempo from the 2nd period. In the 3rd they put on a 30-18 run. Both Miller and Kull scored 8 points, each.
Miller had a two, two free throws, then a triply of 2s. Kull connected twice from long distance, then made 2-of-2 free throws.
Nichols added another trey and a deuce. Mason Miller sank a 3 and Bryant scored from the floor.
Neoga was led by Johnson, Roy, and Trevor Fletcher. Johnson made a trey and a deuce. Roy scored twice and 1-of-2 at the line. Fletcher scored twice. Peters and Cornell added solo twos and fell behind by 22, 77-55.
Johnson was en fuego. He scored 17 points in crunch time. He made a troika of treys, a deuce, another 3, and converted a 3-point play. Peters made a two, then 1-of-2 foul shots and a two. Roy was fouled and made 3-of-4 foul shots. Adam Fearday made a two. They scored 27 points, but fell short.
The Rams were mired in making free throws in the 4th, but it paid off. They made 11-of-14 foul shots with the game on the line. He made the only two buckets of the Ram 4th. Kull stroked 4-of-4 down the stretch.
Inside a minute to play, Shelby was up 6, 85-79. Kull made his last two free throws. Shelby was up 8, 87-79. However, Johnson finished with a 3-point play. He converted the free throw and the lead was down to 5 points with 42 seconds left, 87-82.
Neoga fouled Nichols in the back court. He went to the line and burned them, making both free throws. Neoga missed a shot and Miller was fouled. He made 1-of-2 for the 90-82 Ram lead.
There was a loose ball at the Neoga end and Nichols was fouled again. He went to the line and stroked two more free throws to put a fork in Neoga with a 10-point margin.
Braden Nichols was the 3rd Ram in double figures. He scored 14 points and a pair of 2s and a pair of 3s. He also was 4-of-4 at the line. Bryant scored 8.
Roy and Peters joined Johnson in double figures. Roy scored 13 points on two 2s and a trey, plus 6-of-8 at the line. Peters scored a dowzen o 5 baskets and 2 free throws. Cornell scored 9.
Shelbyville 92, Neoga 82
Ram stats: Mal Miller 33 (9-2s, 3-3 pt FGs, 6/9 FTs), Kull 27 (4-2s, 3-3 pt FGs, ,10/10 FTs), Nichols 14 (2-2s, 2-3 pt FGs), 4/4 FTs), Bryant 8 (4 FGs), Reed 4 (2 FGs), Logue 3 (FG), Mas Miller 3 (FG). Team FGs 31. 3-Pointers: 10 (Mal Miller 3, Kull 3, Nichols 2, Logue, Mas Miller). Team FTs 20-of-23.
Neo stats: Johnson 40 (6-2s, 9-3 pt FGs, 1/1 FTs), Roy 13 (2-2s, 1-3 pt FGs, 6/8 FTs), Peters 12 (5 FGs, 2/4 FTs), Cornell 9 (3-2s, 1-3 pt FGs, 0/2 FTs), Fletcher 4 (2 FGs), Fearday2 (FG), Banning 2 (FG, 0/2 FTs). Team FGs 31. 3-Pointers: 11 (Johnson 9, Roy, Cornell). Team FTs 9-of-17.