SAN ANTONIO -- Shelbyville’s decisive march through the 2A Boys UIL Playoff bracket resembled Sherman’s March to Atlanta. Nothing was left standing in its wake.
The No. 1-ranked Dragons capped a magnificent 39-win season with a blowout win over Gruver, 67-48, Saturday afternoon at the Alamodome in San Antonio. In its playoff run, Shelbyville outscored its opponents by a combined 203 points (596-393).
Junior guard Jay Buckley led the charge with 28 points as the 6-foot whirling dervish had his way against the Greyhounds. Whether it was beating his man down the lane or pulling up from three, Buckley did what he wanted when he wanted it. Teammate Jordan Boykins certainly helped the cause with a three-point barrage of his own, finishing with 19 points and five three-point buckets.
The state title – the first in basketball since 1984 – avenges a heart-wrenching loss last season in the state semifinals against these same Gruver Greyhounds.
“These kids had a lot of pressure on them all year and it’s great for them that they were able to put it all together. This community really showed how important basketball is to Shelbyville and how big a deal winning this state title is,” head coach David Schmitt said. “I’ve been coming here since I was a 10th grader and this was always the dream. Feels pretty good.”
The loss last year to Gruver came down to the Dragons inability to stop then sophomore Jalin Conyers. This time around, despite finishing with 25 points, Conyers was held in virtual check by constant double teams and the efforts of senior Kurtric Allen.
“Those guys played like they had something to prove,” said the 6-foot-5 Conyers afterward. “They felt like they should have won it last year and they weren’t about to let that happen again. They took it to us all game.”
Boykins asserted himself early in this one with a trio of deep threes as Shelbyville put some distance between itself and Gruver in the opening quarter. The Dragons controlled the pace of play on offense and made life in their defensive paint a nightmare for the Greyhounds. Jay Buckley scored inside and Boykins hit nearly everything he tossed up from the outside as Shelbyville built a commanding 21-7 lead.
The second quarter was more of the same with the exception of Buckley adding a long-range connection to his bevy of layups, floaters and reverse bank shots. Boykins gave the Dragons to their biggest lead of the game when he ripped down a defensive rebound, dribbled down the middle of the court and cooly hit a 25 footer for yet another three. Gruver’s do-everything big man Conyers did a little bit of everything to help keep the Greyhounds in the same zip code but by the half, Shelbyville had staked itself to a 37-19 lead. Boykins and Buckley accounted for 31 of those points.