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Golden Eagles Fall Just Short in Upset Bid Against Lions

Noah Maddox
Posted 2/6/24

The Shelbyville Central Golden Eagles will rue the missed opportunities in Monday's five-point District 9-AAAA home loss to the Columbia Central Lions, 57-52.

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Golden Eagles Fall Just Short in Upset Bid Against Lions

Tae' Shawn Shelton gets ready to knock down one of his six points from the free throw line in Monday's loss.
Tae' Shawn Shelton gets ready to knock down one of his six points from the free throw line in Monday's loss.

In what was a painfully close matchup all evening, the Shelbyville Central Golden Eagles fell again at home by five, 57-52, to the first-place Columbia Central Lions on Monday.

The Lions came into Rick Insell Gymnasium knowing that a win would secure them the top-seed in next week's district tournament, but the Golden Eagles were very close to postponing those celebrations.

This was a game for all four quarters, and despite numerous untimely turnovers from the hosts, Columbia Central was never able to really pull away. The zone defense employed by Shelbyville continuously gave the visitors problems all night, but the full-court man-to-man pressure defense from Columbia doomed the Eagles in the end. 

Trailing 48-39 with about six and a half minutes to go in the final frame and coming out of a timeout, Shelbyville responded again, going on a 10-4 run over the next five minutes to trim the Lions’ lead to just three points. Shelbyville would then cut it to one and immediately forced a turnover, but on the ensuing possession, Jack Conditt had his post-entry pass into Tae’ Shawn Shelton stolen to put the game out of reach.

It was an inspiring performance from Shelbyville defensively, but offensively there were way too many unforced errors that resulted in turnovers and easy run-outs for the visitors. Multiple times in the second half the hosts were able to cut the lead to a one-score game, but then would commit a turnover or take a bad shot offensively to stifle the rally.

Two players for the Eagles reached double-figures with Terrance Johnson with a team-high 11 points off the bench, and Shamarion Draper had 10 points of his own. Kyler Trice chipped in with nine points, but Shelton was held to just six points after scoring 21 on Friday. 

For Columbia, a game-high 18 points from Demarion Polk, 15 points from Jordan Davis, and 11 points from Keneth Jackson was just enough to survive on the road.

The game certainly didn’t start out looking like it would come down to the fourth quarter, as the Lions roared out to a 13-7 lead after the first period of play.

Columbia would extend that lead to 19-11 in the second quarter, but the Eagles would rally with a 12-5 run of their own to go into the halftime locker room only down by one point, 24-23.

The visitors then came out to start the third quarter the same way they started the first, slowly extending their lead to seven points with a 12-5 run of their own, but again the Eagles responded. Coming out of a timeout trailing 36-29, Shelbyville would score 10 points to close the third quarter within striking distance, trailing 44-39.

After falling just short, 57-52, the Eagles have a chance to rebound Tuesday on Senior Night. They fall to 5-19 (1-7), but host Spring Hill on the second night of a back-to-back in a game where the loser is the last seed (6th) in next week’s District 9-AAAA tournament. Tuesday’s game will be aired LIVE on WLIJ 98.7 and AM 1580 starting at 5:45 p.m.

Columbia Central improves to 14-8 (7-2) and are scheduled to take a momentary pause from district play as they welcome in East Hickman on Tuesday before hosting Shelbyville on Friday.

Shelbyville Central Golden Eagles, Columbia Central Lions