Shelbyville could not secure its first sectional game victory since 2011 with Kylee Edwards and Ava Wilson doing all the scoring. The dynamic duo needed help.
The Golden Bears held a precarious 30-26 halftime advantage on Columbus East Friday in the second semifinal game of Class 4A, Sectional 14 but Edwards and Wilson accounted for 28 of those points.
A halftime pep talk from Edwards (photo below) instilled confidence in her teammates and they went to work. Abby Brenner, Ellie Keller, Ella Johnson and Lilly Marshall combined for 21 second-half points and Edwards had 11 of her game-high 27 points in the fourth quarter to get Shelbyville a 65-62 victory and a spot in tonight’s sectional championship game at Garrett Gymnasium in Shelbyville.
“It was a team win,” said Shelbyville head coach Becca Hoefler, who earned the first postseason win of her four-year coaching career. “Kylee at halftime, and this shows you what kind of leader she is, looked at all of them and said take a shot if you’re open. Ava and I are being guarded, take a shot and we will try to rebound it … just keep shooting.”
The Golden Bears will face Franklin (17-5), 66-43 winner over Whiteland Friday, at 7:30 p.m. tonight. The Grizzly Cubs defeated Shelbyville, 63-39 on Dec. 17 in the very same Garrett Gymnasium.
Eighteen of Edwards’ 27 points came from a scorching performance from beyond the 3-point line. She went 1-for-3 in the first quarter then hit her final five attempts, including two in the final quarter that kept the Olympians in chase mode.
That was no easy task. With Columbus East six-footers Saige Stahl and Leah Bachmann collecting rebound after rebound, the Olympians battled to the end.
Stahl, an Indiana State commit, scored 25 points and grabbed 19 rebounds (10 on the offensive end) while Bachmann finished with six points and 17 rebounds. Columbus East outrebounded Shelbyville 48-28 in part to a 21-rebound performance in the final quarter.
While Stahl flourished, the Columbus East guards struggled to hit open 3s. Maeleigh Roberts and Allison Craig were a combined 3 of 19 from the arc. The Olympians did hit 10 3s but it took 39 attempts (26%).
“I scouted them very heavily. We were very concerned about this game. We wanted to win it and we put a lot of work into our scouting,” said Hoefler. “They are not the best outside shooters so we made sure we played off of them and covered the inside. Stahl is an amazing player and she is hard to stop. Our focus was to make it harder for her and make them shoot from the outside. The game plan worked.”
Jenna Guse found her range in the third quarter and helped stabilize the Olympians, who fell behind 41-29 following a Johnson 15 footer.
Guse, averaging just 6 ppg this season, scored off an offensive rebound then hit back-to-back 3s to get Columbus East within two points, 45-43, at the end of the quarter.
The junior hit two more 3s in the final quarter and finished with 17 points.
Shelbyville got a third-quarter boost from freshman Ellie Keller, who did not play in the first half. Her 3-pointer not long after checking into the game was part of an 8-0 run that pushed the Golden Bears’ lead to its largest at 41-29.
The fourth quarter finally arrived with several key players in foul trouble.
Edwards managed to avoid early foul trouble while battling Stahl in the low post. In the end, the two Division I athletes did everything they could to carry their respective teams into the championship game.
Edwards, who will play collegiate softball at Mississippi State University, scored Shelbyville’s first nine points of the final eight minutes.
Guse’s 7-0 run helped Columbus East tie the game at 56-all with 2:37 left. The final point, a free throw, came after Wilson, who averages 18.4 ppg, fouled out.
Brenner answered with a 3, one of Shelbyville’s 11 made 3s in the game. Keller followed with a baseline 10 footer to get the lead to 61-56.
Shelbyville struggled to hit free throws from there that would have secured the win earlier. Edwards only hit 3 of 6 in the quarter and Brenner was 2 of 4.
Meanwhile, Stahl scored in the low post, Brielle Stevens sank a pair of free throws and Stahl drove hard to the rim and scored again to cut the lead to 63-62 with 13 seconds left.
Edwards was fouled and with the Shelbyville season and her career on the line, the senior swished two free throws in front of a large Golden Bears student section to seal the win.
Wilson (main photo), a junior, finished with 15 points and combined with Edwards to hit 9 of 16 3s in the win.
Brenner, a senior, finished with eight points – all in the second half.
Keller had seven points and two assists but was injured on Columbus East’s final shot attempt that was well off the mark. She had to be helped off the court after the win leaving her playing status for the championship game in doubt.
Johnson hit a pair of third-quarter field goal attempts to finish with four points and three rebounds.
Marshall and Hailey Pogue, Shelbyville’s third senior, each had two points.
Ellie Simpson did not score but had four rebounds and two assists.
“I am so proud of those girls for stepping up and taking shots,” said Hoefler (photo). “We will need the exact same thing (against Franklin).”
Notes: Edwards pushed her career scoring record to 1,557 points in the win and surpassed Sharon Knecht as the program’s career rebounding leader with 567 rebounds. … As Hoefler celebrated her first postseason victory, Columbus East head coach Danny Brown closed out his coaching career with 303 wins with the Olympians and 361 career victories. He announced his retirement earlier this season. … Stahl, like Edwards, is a 1,000 point scorer in her career. She accomplished the feat earlier this season. … With her 15 points, Wilson pushed her career scoring total to 729 points which puts her on pace to reach 1,000 career points during her senior season.
Steve Bush photos
Shelbyville 65, Columbus East 62
CE – Roberts 1-9 0-0 3, Murphy 0-2 0-0 0, Stahl 10-25 3-6 25, Bachmann 1-6 3-4 6, Trapp 1-2 1-1 3, Guse 6-13 1-3 17, Craig 2-10 0-0 6, Stevens 0-1 2-2 2. Totals: 21-66 10-16 62.
SH – Edwards 9-19 3-6 27, Brenner 2-5 3-8 8, Simpson 0-1 0-0 0, Wilson 4-13 4-6 15, Pogue 1-1 0-0 2, Keller 3-6 0-0 7, E. Johnson 2-3 0-2 4, Marshall 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 22-49 10-22 65.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
CE (10-14) 11 15 17 19 -- 62
SH (15-8) 11 19 15 20 -- 65
Three-point field goals: CE 10-39 (Roberts 1-9, Murphy 0-2, Stahl 2-8, Bachmann 1-1, Guse 4-8, Craig 2-10, Stevens 0-1), SH 11-21 (Edwards 6-8, Brenner 1-1, Simpson 0-1, Wilson 3-8, Keller 1-2, Marshall 0-1). Rebounds: CE 48 (Stahl 19, Bachmann 17, Trapp 5, Guse 4, Craig 3), SH 28 (Edwards 9, Brenner 3, Simpson 4, Wilson 4, Pogue 3, Keller 1, E. Johnson 3, Marshall 1). Assists: CE 13 (Roberts 1, Murphy 2, Stahl 1, Bachmann 1, Trapp 1, Guse 3, Craig 4), SH 10 (Edwards 1, Brenner 2, Simpson 2, Wilson 2, Keller 2, Marshall 1). Steals: CE 3 (Stahl 2, Guse 1), SH 8 (Edwards 1, Brenner 2, Simpson 1, Wilson 1, Keller 1, Marshall 2). Blocks: CE 1 (Bachmann 1), SH 3 (Edwards 1, Simpson 1, Keller 1). Total fouls: CE 16, SH 19. Fouled out: Bachmann (CE), Wilson (SH).
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