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Eaglettes Struggle Late, Lose to Columbia Central

Noah Maddox
Posted 2/6/24

The Shelbyville Central Golden Eaglettes dropped another home District 9-AAAA contest on Monday, this time against the Columbia Central Lady Lions.

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Eaglettes Struggle Late, Lose to Columbia Central

Lily Brown (12) goes up for two of her eight first-half points on Monday.
Lily Brown (12) goes up for two of her eight first-half points on Monday.

After starting the season out 4-0 at home, the Shelbyville Central Golden Eaglettes are 0-5 since, most recently falling 54-42 at Rick Insell Gymnasium to the Columbia Central Lady Lions on Monday. 

The Eaglettes were already thin in terms of their depth off the bench, but after starting point guard Jaz Western suffered a lower leg injury in Friday’s contest against Lincoln County, it was always going to be a struggle to score against a tenacious Lady Lions defense.

However, Shelbyville started off the game showing the ability to match buckets with the visitors, trailing only 13-12 at the end of the first quarter after connecting on five of their six field goal attempts.

In the second quarter, both teams’ offense began to pick up the pace. Despite the full court man-to-man full court pressure employed by the Lady Lions, the Eaglettes were able to push the ball ahead for some easy baskets. Unfortunately for the hosts, there were also multiple turnovers in the backcourt that gifted Columbia free layups as the void left by the injured Western began to show.

Despite all the struggles in the first half, Shelbyville went into the halftime locker room only trailing by one point, 30-29. After scoring only 36 points total in Friday’s contest against Lincoln County, the Eaglettes seemed like they were on a much better pace offensively.

As the second half began, however, the hole left by Western’s absence grew larger by the minute. The Lady Lions’s pressure defense began to wear down Paige Blackburn, Sammie Brown, and Lanaya Young as the game went deeper into the second half, highlighted by Blackburn going 0/4 in the third quarter. Also, Lily Brown, after scoring eight points in the first half and looking like a genuine threat down low, picked up three fouls in the quarter which saddled her to the bench with four personals. She did not score in the second half after she fouled out relatively early on in the fourth quarter.

The Eaglettes were only able to muster up five points in the third quarter while the Lady Lions scored 12 to take a 42-34 lead into the final frame.

In the fourth quarter, Shelbyville ended up running out of gas both mentally and physically as the intense Columbia pressure took its toll. Despite cutting the lead down to as little as five points with about three minutes to go, the visiting Lady Lions were able to salt the game away with their quickness offensively and their elite turnover-forcing defense. They would hold on to win, 54-42, to clinch the three seed in next week’s district tournament.

For Shelbyville, Paige Blackburn led the team with 11 points, but she never really looked comfortable all night long against Columbia’s defense. Yasmine McFarland, Lily Brown, and Sammie Brown all chipped in with eight points apiece as well.

The Lady Lions were led by a game-high 17 points from Kayla Crawford with teammates Saviya Morgan and Anaya Mulholland both reaching double-figures with 13 and 11 points respectively.

Columbia Central improves to 20-6 (5-4) and will take a momentary pause from District 9-AAAA play on Tuesday as they host East Hickman on the second night of a back-to-back. They will host Shelbyville in the final district matchup of the season on Friday.

The Eaglettes continue on their downward spiral, falling to 13-10 (2-6). They have a chance to right the ship a little bit as they welcome in lowly Spring Hill to the Eagles’ Nest on Tuesday in the second night of a back-to-back, LIVE on WLIJ 98.7 and AM 1580 starting at 5:45.

Shelbyville Central Golden Eaglettes, Columbia Central Lady Lions