Shelby County boys remain undefeated in area play

Published 11:00 am Friday, January 18, 2019

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

COLUMBIANA – The Shelby County boys basketball team was able to remain undefeated in area play on Thursday, Jan. 17, with a home victory against the Jemison Panthers.

The Wildcats used a 35-point first quarter to separate themselves from the Panthers early in the contest, before pulling away for an easy 71-33 victory in front of the home crowd.

In that first quarter, Shelby County (10-7, 4-0) got points from eight different players led by Tae Whetstone’s 12 points in the period. The Wildcats also hit four 3-pointers in the frame led by Nathan Bates with two from beyond the arc.

Defensively, Shelby County was able to put the pressure on and held the Panthers to just three field goals in the quarter, while they also made five field goals for 12 points.

With that combined effort on both ends of the floor, the Wildcats had almost tripled Jemison’s scoring effort in the period to take a 35-12 lead into the second.

After posting so many points in the opening frame, Shelby County’s 18 in the second quarter seemed drastically different, but is a normal good quarter for a high school basketball team in eight minutes of action.

A big reason for that continued success was due to Bates. Normally a sharp shooter from beyond the arc, Bates had eight points in the period, all of which came inside the arc. He made three field goals in the quarter and hit both of his free throws as part of an 18-point quarter for the Wildcats.

Jemison still struggled to find any rhythm from the field as the Panthers were only able to make one field goal in the quarter, while knocking down seven of their 11 free throw attempts for 11 points.

At the half, the Wildcats were able to take a dominant 31-point 53-22 lead.

In the second half, the game’s pace and the offensive production both slowed drastically. After a 75-point first half, the two teams combined to post 29 points in the second half.

That definitely favored Shelby County, who didn’t need to score a ton of points to pick up the win, yet the Wildcats still outscored the Panthers in both periods.

In the third quarter, it was three 3-pointers from three different players that paved the way to an 11-point period, while the Wildcats’ defense held Jemison to single digits at nine points.

Having extended its lead to 64-31 heading to the final quarter, a running clock allowed Shelby County to close the game out with ease.

In the final quarter, the Wildcats got five points from Larz Balfanz to help his team outscore the Panthers 7-2 in the period to finish off a solid outing in a 71-33 victory.

Bates led the Wildcats with 16 points, 13 of which came in the first half, while Whetstone and Balfanz both had 12 in the win.