By RICKEY CLARDY – Sports Writer
SHELBYVILLE – It might not have been a great win for the Community Vikings, but a win is a win.
The Vikings struggled from the free throw line for the last two minutes but had enough lead to hold on and defeat the Shelbyville Central Golden Eagles 45-39 in an intra-county basketball game Saturday night.
Neither team was able to take more than 4 points ahead as the teams fought to gain the upper hand in the first quarter. Stratton Lovvorn led Community (4-5) with five points while Jason Ragland led Shelbyville (2-7) with four points as the Vikings took an 11-10 lead in the second quarter.
A Joe Harris trey at 7:50 gave the Eagles their last lead at 13-11. Lovvorn burned the net for 12 points as the Vikings used two to take the lead. After a 7-0 run that saw Community lead 18-13, the Vikings scored the last 11 points of the quarter to take the lead 31-17 in intermission.
Both teams struggled to find the basket in the third quarter. The community were led by four points from Lovvorn, while Zay Reese and Tim Parsons totaled nine points from Shelbyville. The Vikings could only collect six points and took a 37-26 lead until the last quarter.
The community took time and still maintained a 41-32 lead with 2:20 remaining as the Eagles were forced to foul. The bottom fell as the Vikings missed eight free throws in the last two minutes, including two shots ahead of the one and one.
Meanwhile, the Eagles took advantage with six points from Reese and five points from Parsons to close the gap. Shelbyville used a perfect 4 of 4 performance from the free throw line during the quarter, including two free throws from Parsons with 20 seconds remaining to reduce the Vikings’ lead to 42-39.
Despite struggling on the line, Community used three Stratton free throws in the final 18 seconds to seal the deal.
Lovvorn led all scorers with 24 points for the Vikings.
Reese had 15 points and Parsons added 10 to lead the Eagles.
The Vikings finished 13 of 24 at the foul line while the Eagles were 12 of 18.
“We challenged our guys at halftime to take that 14 point lead and push it back, but we did the exact same thing we did on Tuesday night at Huntland,” said coach Robbie Davis. of the Vikings. “We were able to stretch the back against Huntland, but tonight we didn’t because we don’t do free throws. They came down and did a good job scoring in the fourth quarter and coming back into the game and we did a horrible job of extending the lead, ”added Davis.
“We talked about effort and intensity every step of the way and it has to be with a sense of urgency,” said Eagles coach Kody Howard. “I thought we were coming back to defense in the first half. I’m proud that we only gave up 14 points in the second half. I’m proud of my guys for that.
Shelbyville heads to Cascade on Tuesday night while Community heads to Richland, also on Tuesday. Both matches start at 7:30 p.m.
Community 11 20 6 8 – 45
Shelbyville 10 7 9 13 – 39
Community: Stratton Lovvorn 24, Cole Crockett 5, Maki Fleming 3, Ramon Hernandez 3, Trace Broiles, Jason Cullum 4, Corey Paterick 3, Noah Newkirk 3, Jacob Flannagan, Judd O’Neal.
Shelbyville: Zay Reese 15, Tim Parsons 10, Jason Ragland 6, Micah Heflin 3, Joe Harris 3, Jeremiah Jones 2, Terrance Johnson, Kyler Trice, Zay Alexander, Zyon Bonner.
3 point goals: Community (4): Lovvorn 3, Patrick; Shelbyville (3): Parsons, Heflin, Harris.
Halftime score: Community 31, Shelbyville 17.