With his team trailing late in the game, the Triton Central freshman had no fear.
Eli Sego sank a three-pointer to give Triton Central a 62-60 lead with 31 seconds left and Shelbyville committed back-to-back turnovers late that allowed the visiting Tigers to escape Garrett Gymnasium with a 63-60 victory Saturday night.
Triton Central (2-0) trailed by as many as eight points in the second half and never led until Sego hit the biggest shot of his young career.
“That was probably a situation where there was less than a minute left, we were down, we’d been down, a lot of adversity and somebody could have tried to do something on their own,” said Triton Central head coach Kyle Ballard. “We find (Sego) for a wide open shot that all of us have confidence he is going to hit.
“For a freshman, that’s a tough situation to be in. As long as I’ve known him, his composure is one thing that has always stood out. He is a big-time competitor. I’m really happy for him to hit that shot.”
Sego finished with 13 points after sinking all three of his 3-point attempts in the second half.
Luke Faust led Triton Central with 19 points and six rebounds and he spent much of the game shadowing Shelbyville senior Ollie Sandman, who finished with 13 points – only two in the second half. Sandman averaged 20 points per game as a junior and scored 27 in the Golden Bears’ win Wednesday at Rushville.
Isaac Morgan (photo) kept Triton Central fighting the entire second half until it could finally get the lead. The senior earned trip-after-trip to the free-throw line over the final 16 minutes, finishing with 13 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the charity stripe.
“There were some things Isaac and I talked about down the stretch there,” said Ballard. “There were some chances he took we maybe didn’t want him to take. He’s had the ball in his hands a lot and played in a lot of big games for us the last two years. It’s part of our philosophy to put the ball in his hands and I won’t tell him where to go all the time.”
Shelbyville (1-1) scored the final six points of the first quarter but still trailed 15-11 at the break. Luke Brinkman and Sandman each hit a pair of free throws late in the second quarter to give the Golden Bears a 32-29 edge at halftime.
Sego splashed back-to-back 3s early in the third quarter but Shelbyville responded with an 8-0 run started by a Sandman drive to the basket and back-to-back 3s from Shelbyville freshman Caden Claxton, who scored 19 points in his second varsity game after being held scoreless Wednesday at Rushville.
“We know what Caden can do and he shoots like that all the time in practice,” said Shelbyville head coach John Hartnett. “Those first game nerves were kind of settled at Rushville and tonight he comes out and has 19 points. He did a great job contributing especially with them holding Sandman to 13.”
Morgan scored TC’s final five points of the third quarter to cut Shelbyville’s lead to 45-40 at the break.
It was a slow-and-steady climb for the Tigers in the fourth quarter. Triton Central hit a trio of 3s in the quarter and scored 10 points at the free-throw line to keep pressure on the Golden Bears.
Shelbyville’s offense in the fourth quarter was a steady dose of Brinkman attacking the lane and getting to the free-throw line or feeding Ethan Lambert for close-range scores.
Lambert (photo) finished with 13 points and six rebounds off the bench.
“Ethan played tremendous,” said Hartnett. “He will be so hard to take out of games this year because he is our biggest, strongest body. He made some free throws and hit some big shots to get our advantage down the stretch.”
Brinkman hit four free throws in a 40-second span to keep Shelbyville ahead 60-56 with 1:21 left.
Faust hit a wing 3 to cut the lead to 60-59. Forty seconds later, Sego hit what would be the game winner.
Silas Blair added a free throw with six seconds left to make it 63-60 and Sandman’s potential game-tying 3-pointer from the volleyball line caromed off the backboard to give the Tigers their third-straight win over the Golden Bears.
Brody Runnebohm hit four 3s to lead Shelbyville to a 47-29 win in the junior varsity contest. Runnebohm finished with a game-high 14 points. Cole Schene finished with 11 and Jack West had 10.
Gavin Morgan led Triton Central with 11 points.
Triton Central travels to Waldron (2-1) Thursday. Shelbyville hosts Connersville (1-1) Saturday.
Steve Bush photos.
Triton Central 63, Shelbyville 60
TC – Faust 7-10 2-2 19, Sego 4-6 2-2 13, Morgan 2-5 9-14 13, Baugh 1-2 0-0 3, Blair 2-6 3-4 7, Crouse 1-6 4-6 6, Stuckey 0-2 0-0 0, Goul 0-0 2-2 2. Totals: 17-37 22-30 63.
SH – Sandman 4-14 2-2 13, Badgley 1-2 0-0 3, Brinkman 0-5 9-12 9, Parker 1-2 1-1 3, Claxton 6-12 2-2 19, Asher 0-2 0-0 0, Lambert 5-6 3-5 13. Totals: 17-41 17-23 60.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
TC (2-0) 15 14 11 23 -- 63
SH (1-1) 11 21 13 15 -- 60
Three-point field goals: TC 7-20 (Faust 3-5, Sego 3-5, Morgan 0-2, Baugh 1-2, Blair 0-1, Crouse 0-4, Stuckey 0-1), SH 9-21 (Sandman 3-8, Badgley 1-1, Brinkman 0-3, Claxton 5-9). Rebounds: TC 25 (Faust 6, Sego 1, Morgan 4, Baugh 2, Blair 3, Crouse 4, Stuckey 3, Goul 2), SH 19 (Sandman 4, Badgley 1, Brinkman 4, Parker 3, Asher 2, Lambert 6). Assists: TC 9 (Faust 1, Morgan 5, Baugh 1, Crouse 2), SH 10 (Sandman 1, Brinkman 4, Parker 3, Claxton 1, Lambert 1). Steals: TC 3 (Morgan 1, Stuckey 1, Goul 1), SH 4 (Brinkman 2, Claxton 1, Lambert 1). Blocks: TC 3 (Blair 1, Goul 2). Total fouls: TC 27, SH 23. Fouled out: Stuckey (TC), Parker (SH), Brinkman (SH). Turnovers: TC 17, SH 14.
Shelbyville 47, Triton Central 29
TC – G. Morgan 11, McClure 5, Clements 4, Canter 2, Capps 2, Collier 2, McElfresh 2, Brown 1.
SH – Runnebohm 14, Schene 11, West 10, Myers 8, Reed 4.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
TC 11 6 8 4 -- 29
SH 7 16 19 5 -- 47
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