Shelby County boys score 94 points to earn spot in sub-regionals for first time since 2015

Published 12:22 pm Wednesday, February 6, 2019

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

COLUMBIANA – For the first time since 2015, the Shelby County Wildcats’ boys basketball team is headed to the sub-regionals of the playoffs after throwing up 94 points in a dominant 94-38 victory against the Jemison Panthers in the first round of the area tournament at SCHS on Tuesday, Feb. 5.

The Wildcats were able to pull off the dominant effort thanks to 12 different players scoring in the game, including three in double figures, while also putting forth a strong defensive effort.

Nathan Bates, who has been raining in threes for the Wildcats all season, started with a bang in this one. He knocked down three 3-pointers in the opening quarter of the game and posted 11 points to help propel Shelby County to 24 points in the period.

The other 13 points scored came thanks to two 3-pointers from Noah Harper, five points from Tae Whetstone and a jumper from RJ Straate.

Jemison didn’t have a bad first quarter offensively knocking down four field goals and going 2-2 from the line, but the 12 points weren’t enough for the Panthers to keep from going down by double digits at 24-12.

The real turning point in the game came during the next eight minutes of the contest.

Shelby County started a two-quarter stretch where the Wildcats scored a combined 54 points thanks to 27 points in each quarter, but starting with the second period, it was the defense that really changed the game.

Thanks to 10 more points from Bates and five total scorers with at least three points in the period, the Wildcats’ offense was clicking in the second quarter, but a lot of that offense was sparked by a dominant defensive effort.

The Wildcats didn’t give up a single basket in the frame and limited the Panthers to just one point as they outscored them 27-1 in the period to take a commanding 51-13 lead into the half.

Coming out of the half, the game was pretty much in hand with Shelby County in full control leading by 38 points, but that didn’t mean it was time to let up.

Due to some frustration and committing to not letting the Wildcats get easy baskets in the third quarter, Jemison started committing fouls, which not only led to the bonus but several free throw attempts for Shelby County in the quarter.

The Wildcats stepped to the free throw line 23 times and sank 16 of their 23 free throws to help propel another strong quarter of 27 points offensively.

It led to a lot of foul trouble, as Jemison saw four players finish with at least three fouls and one player foul out on a roster of seven players.

The Panthers were able to put up 15 points in the quarter, but that didn’t keep Shelby County from extending its lead to 50 points at 78-28 heading to the final quarter of the game.

In the final period, the Wildcats got to get some guys valuable experience, as several key bench players helped the team score 16 more points, while limiting Jemison to 10 points to create the final score of 94-38.

Bates led the Wildcats with 27 points, while Whetstone added 13 points and Harper 11 points to give the team three scorers in double figures. With 12 players scoring, Shelby County got possibly its deepest effort of the season.

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