By Aaron Kirchoff
---- — SHELBYVILLE — Execution. That was the difference Wednesday as the Lions traveled to Shelbyville for the basketball season opener. Rushville made enough plays down the stretch to rally and send the game to overtime . The end result was a 67-64 victory over the Golden Bears.
After a slow start offensively by the Golden Bears, Shelbyville’s consistent penetration to the basket paid off as they rallied from an 8-point first quarter deficit. The Lions jumped out to a 9-2 lead on a bucket by Cameron Cox, triple by Mitch Laird and back-to-back buckets by Nate Niehoff. The lead grew to 12-4 on a 3-pointer by Alex Yurack.
Shelbyville closed the first quarter on a 10-5 run to cut the deficit to 17-14 heading to the second quarter.
The Golden Bears took the lead early in the second quarter on a 3-pointer by Tyler Land. The continued attacking of the rim had Shelbyville in the bonus mid-way through the quarter.
After falling behind by eight points, the Lions got a 3-pointer from Laird and bucket from Cox off the nice Ricky Thompson feed to cut the half-time deficit to 29-26.
The Lions regained the lead in the third as Cox scored in the paint and Niehoff hit a “baby hook” in the lane. The Lions did not relinquish the lead the remainder of the quarter. Niehoff’s bucket put the Lions in front 43-40 after three quarters.
In the fourth quarter, the Golden Bears rallied from a 5-point deficit to take a pair of 5-point leads. The first came on a drive by Reilly Reinbold and the second came on a drive and reverse layin by Cameron Clouse.
With three minutes to play, the Golden Bears went to a more deliberate offense, looking to take time off the clock. The method slowed their offense (only three points the rest of the quarter) and allowed the Lions to scratch their way back in the game.
Buckets by Yurack and Cox cut the Shelbyville lead to one point with less than one minute to play. After two free throws by Shelbyville’s Mitchell Orem, Rushville executed on the other end with a kick-out pass to Laird for the 3-pointer that tied the game at 57-57.
Shelbyville had to settle for a long, step-back 3-pointer that did not fall and the game went to overtime.
In the extra session, Shelbyville freshman John Lux drained a 3-pointer and got the defensive rebound on the other end to give the ball back to the Golden Bears. Again, the Golden Bears did not execute on the offensive end to extend the lead. The Lions countered with a 6-2 run, capped by a Yurack steal and bucket, to grab the lead 63-62.
After two free throws by Adam Eads for the Golden Bears, Laird found Niehoff in the lane for the go-ahead bucket. Two free throws by Yurack pushed the lead to 67-64. Shelbyville did not get a good look at the end as the Lions held on for the win.
Niehoff and Cox led the Lions with 17 points each. Yurack had 16 and Laird finished with 12. Eads had 21 and Reinbold had 19 for the Golden Bears.
In the junior varsity game, the Lions scored 13 points in the first and fourth quarters en route to the 43-36 victory. Brad Busald led the Lions with 18 and Jaret Sons added 11.
Contact: Aaron Kirchoff at 765-932-2222, ext. 114