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Williams, S. Lewis help Golden Bears win nail-biter

By KATRINA BRANSON - kbranson@shelbynews.com

The Shelbyville Golden Bears faced a tough opponent in fourth-ranked Greensburg Saturday night, but they were prepared. The team would pick up 60-57 win in a contest that went down to the wire.

It became evident early in the game that the winner would be decided in the final seconds. Junior Josh Williams did his part to help the team earn the exciting win at home.

Williams stole a pass and drove the ball down the court for a layup with just 36 seconds left to play, giving the Golden Bears a 56-54 lead. A Greensburg missed shot would then lead to an assist by Sam Lewis into the hands of Williams once again for a 58-54 lead. Greensburg sophomore Andrew Welage, however, would nail a 3-pointer, making it a 58-57 game with just 4.4 seconds to go.

As the Golden Bears inbounded the ball, an intentional foul was called against Greensburg, giving Shelbyville two free throws and the ball. The free throws were missed, but an inbound assist from Sam Lewis to Williams gave the Golden Bears a 60-57 lead with just .8 seconds – just enough to scrape past by the Pirates.

“Josh Williams is just a great athlete and makes key plays, and he did that for us late in the game,” said Shelbyville head coach Ryan Mack. “I thought we had a lot of great performances tonight. So far this year we’ve knocked off No. 1 Crispus Attucks in Class 3A and Greensburg, No. 4 tonight. So, we’re getting some really good, quality wins. Tonight we almost let it slip away, but we fought back and finished it.”

The Golden Bears’ focus entering the game was on Greensburg’s junior guard Drew Comer. Standing at 6-foot-4, Comer averages 21.5 points per game. Saturday night Shelbyville was able to hold him to just 12.

“We worked all week on trying to slow down Comer,” said Mack. “I thought Sam Lewis doing what he did on defense against Comer was excellent. A lot of credit to him first half, and then I thought Zach (Kuhn) really stabilized us in the second half and got us a lot of good shots and passes and quite a few rebounds.”

Junior Zach Kuhn finished with 12 points, seven points and five assists for Shelbyville. Kuhn was honored before the game, receiving a 1,000-point plaque. He’s only the ninth player in Shelbyville history to reach the milestone – and it’s only his junior year.

Other scorers on the night for Shelbyville included Brock Blackwell with ten points and Cooper Lewis with nine. Williams finished the night with eight points, while Sam Lewis lead the team in scoring finishing with 21 points (five 3-pointers). 

“It’s always a big help when we have Sam,” said Mack. “I think we’re just so much better with him than without him. It’s pretty easy to see. Hopefully, we continue to build off of these wins and it helps us down the road in sectionals, because this could be a special team. So, we’ll see if we continue to get better.”

Greensburg’s leading scorer was Welage with 18 points followed by freshman guard Lane Sparks with 14. Junior Mason McLeod put up nine points for the Pirates in the loss.

The win improves the Golden Bears to 9-4 on the season as they prepare to take on Columbus East today, a team they defeated 53-41 last year.

“Columbus East is a sectional opponent, so it’s always good to get a free look at a sectional opponent, and they’re a good team,” said Mack. “Hopefully, we take what we did against them last year and execute. If we do that I think we’ll be just fine.”

The junior varsity team lost a tough battle against the Pirates, 39-37. Junior Garret Davis lead the team in scoring with 15 points followed by DJ Kramer with nine of his own. Sophomore Luke Asher finished with eight.

Katrina Branson is a Sports writer for The Shelbyville News. Follow Katrina on Twitter @k_b527.