Harden, defense lead Eagles past Raiders
It was by no means an offensive masterpiece, but the Shelbyville Central Golden Eagles were able to scrap together enough offense behind Jamal Harden, and a stellar defensive effort, to knock off Coffee County (3-3, 0-1 8-AAA) in the District 8-AAA opener on Friday night, 45-29.
Offense was tough to come by on both ends of the floor in the opening quarter.
With the offensive rhythm struggling to take hold, Shelbyville (2-4, 1-0 8-AAA) was dealt another blow when Roger Pryor went down early with an apparent ankle injury, barely 50 seconds into the first quarter.
That early injury forced Golden Eagle coach Stan Eggleston to change his team's tactics a bit.
"There was no real good flow to the game. I think their game plan was to come out and play zone and shoot from the outside. Our game was to go inside. Then our big man got hurt and it changed our game plan," he said.
The right hands
"We had to move the ball around and we had to penetrate a little more and take our open shots. We've got some shooters, it's just a matter of getting the ball in the right hand of the right guy to shoot it.
"We were able to get the ball into the hands of some of our shooters and we made some big 3's to extend the lead."
Even with the injury to Pryor, the Eagles were able to jump out to a 10-1 lead after one quarter of play.
Continuing the stout defensive effort, the Eagles didn't give up a field goal until the 4:40 mark in the second quarter by Garrett Booth.
Following that early score, the Raiders went on a 11-2 run to cut the Eagle lead to three points by halftime.
But Shelbyville didn't allow another Raider run in the game.
"We were kind of solid on the defensive end -- and I think that was the difference," Eggleston said.
While Shelbyville relied on the three-ball in the first half to jump start the offense, Harden and Darius Young carried the offensive load in the second half.
Of Harden's game-high 20 points, he scored 12 in the second half and was 6 of 7 at the line.
Young also heated up in the second half, scoring all 10 of his points in the final two quarters.
While Young and Harden led the team on Friday, Eggleston credited OJ Davis and David Parsons for helping direct the offense as well.
"They're our four horsemen. They're our solid players that we've depended on all year. Jamal is a player. He turned down some shots he probably should have shot. But he's a scorer. He's an unselfish player," Eggleston said.
Parsons added seven points for the Eagles, while Davis added four as well.
Shelbyville continued to work on the offensive end of the floor in the second half and was able to find its way to the line.
The Eagles shot an impressive 13 of 15 attempts, which helped finish off the Raiders.
Stephen Sullivan led the Raiders with seven points, while Wyatt Day added six.
Chasing a win
Earlier in the week, Eggleston said the primary focus of his team's practice has been claiming the first district win.
"That was huge. We had focused a lot for the past two practices on getting the first district win and set the stage for how we want to play this year and let the district teams know they can't just come in here and expect an easy ball game," he said.
The Eagles will hit the road next week for a pair of road games, traveling to Marshall County on Tuesday and returning to 8-AAA play on Friday night at Franklin County.
Coffee Co. 1 11 7 10 -- 29
SCHS 10 5 14 16 -- 45
Coffee Co.: Stephen Sullivan 7, Wyatt Day 6, Kohl Young 5, Grant Sadler 3, Garrett Eldridge 3, LeAundre Graham 2, Garrett Booth 2, DeAaron Rozier 1.
SCHS: Jamal Harden 20, Darius Young 10, David Parsons 7, OJ Davis 4, JD Harris 2, Chris Houston 2.
3-Point goals: SCHS (4): Harden 2, Young, Parsons; Coffee Co. (3): Day, Sullivan, Young.
Halftime score: SCHS 15, Coffee Co. 12.