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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Jones: Oak Ridge simply had SC's number

Friday, March 7, 2008

Shelbyville's Hannah Dawson (33) reaches out for a loose ball as teammate Janie Graves scrambles for her footing.
(T-G Photo by Danny Parker)
MURFREESBORO -- The number 13 has long been a number associated with negative and mysterious powers of bad luck. It proved to be an ever so elusive number that even the legendary Shelbyville Golden Eaglette program could not achieve as they were outplayed, outshot and outrebounded by a smaller, but much quicker team in their 55-47 state tournament loss to Oak Ridge at the Murphy Center.

Oak Ridge became the instant favorite to win the tournament while Shelbyville is left to ponder what could have been as they begin their offseason preparation.

The two programs have bumped heads in the 'Boro on several occasions and then there was the 16-year connection between the two coaches to factor in, so there were no real surprises in the game for either team. It was simply who was going to play the best on this particular night.

"They didn't do anything out there tonight that we didn't prepare for during the week," Shelbyville coach Lynn Burkey said. "We handled the press well in the first half, but they got into the passing lanes much quicker in the second half and disrupted us offensively. We were not able to overcome their quickness and turned the ball over way to much to beat a team with their shooting talent."

"We knew that Lynn would have his team supremely prepared and ready to play," Oak Ridge coach Jill Prudden said. "We told our kids all week that it would be a game that would come down to the final minutes and that we would have to be mentally and physically prepared to play 32 minutes.

"We were able to take them out of their game a little bit for a six or seven minute span in the third quarter and our defense kept them from any prolonged runs to finish out the game.

"We feel very fortunate to get a win here tonight against a great program."

Oak Ridge coach Jill Prudden calls out defensive adjustments to her squad.
(T-G Photo by Danny Parker)
Burkey's team loses two key seniors in Alex Jarrell and Sha'Para Johnson but will return a solid nucleus to build around in Janie Graves, Ceny Phelps, Hannah Dawson and crew. There is an outstanding sophomore group in Alicia Bates, Jessie Calvert and Robbie Mahaffey and we all know about the kids coming from the Harris Middle program who missed by one game of having a perfect season.

The quarterfinal loss concludes the season for the Eaglettes, who posted 27 wins, and it's now been four years since the last golden ball was hoisted by the Bedford County team. It just goes to show us all how spoiled we are as fans to be left disappointed with a season that most teams would give anything to be a part of and that a 2004 championship seems to be a long time ago.

"We have a real fine core group returning and some players that are ready to step up and show what they can do," Burkey said. "This loss is going to hurt for a while, but I guarantee you that it will only make us stronger.

"This program is known for its ability to overcome any obstacle that presents itself. We will get through this and the Eaglettes will be back next year."

We believe you coach.

Jimmy Jones
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