Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

December 24, 2012

Stew-Stras falls

John Curtis
For the Daily News

SHELBYVILLE — The Shelbyville Rams had the Stew-Stras Comets’ number in the first half Friday.

But the Comets had a 21-7 run in the third to make it a two-point game heading into the fourth.

Darin Breeden, in his first game back from injury, sparked the Ram four and Shelbyville pulled away to win, 64-56.

What was expected to be a battle in the paint between Shelbyville’s 6-7 Brody Bence and Stew-Stras’ big body Justin Fulk never materialized. In the first half they guarded different people.

Fulk has been steady all season scoring in the 20s and Bence has been off and on. Bence scored a season-high 32 on Tuesday, after being scoreless last Friday.

The game was all Shelby early as their defense denied Fulk the ball and the Ram offense picked up where it left off on Tuesday.Bence scored twice in the 1st and Nate Standerfer, who had 15 on Tuesday, recorded a three-point hat trick in the 1st. Fulk scored three times, but the Comets had just one trey. Shelby led by six after one, 19-13.

In the second, the Rams went on a 19-9 run to extend their lead to 16 at the half, 38-22.Bence scored five times from the floor in the 2nd and Standerfer had another triple. The Comets had just two field goals.

Stew-Stras came out of the locker room with some added fire, making a game of it in the third quarter with a big run.Shelbyville traveled and Fulk scored inside.

Jason Becker stole the ball on the next Ram possession. Shelby turned the ball over for the third straight possession and Brandon Helmuth scored, was fouled and made the three-point play, 38-27.

Luke McConnell had a free throw and Bence scored on a bunny, but Helmuth answered with a three-pointer, 41-32. It was the start of a 7-0 run.Becker scored off another Ram turnover and Fulk had a catch and bank in the paint, 41-36.

Bence scored, but Helmuth dialed up another basket from long distance and it was a four-point game with 2:28 in the 3rd, 43-39. Helmuth was fouled and made it a two-point game.

That’s when Breeden made his presence known. He drove and spun between two Comets and had a easy bank at the hoop. Jon Luce answered with a long baseline jumper and neither team scored in the final 1:10 of the period and it was 45-43 heading into the 4th.McConnell went head to head against Fulk in the paint and won to start the fourth period scoring and a 14-2 Ram run, 77-43. Standerfer had a quick first-step drive from the wing and went all the way to the dish, 49-44.After Comet misses, Breeden drove the base line, got the foul and made the shot, 51-44.The Rams missed a 3-pointer, but McConnell fought to get the board and Breeden drained a flat shot from the key, 53-45.The Comets, who are still missing shooter Christian Vonderheide, missed a three-pointer.

Breeden drove from the key and made a lefty lay-up with 3:43 left for a 10-point lead,McConnell’s defense turned over the Comets and the Rams started working the clock without their three leading scorers on the floor. Point guard Jake Keown found McConnell underneath and he scored again.Ram reserve Tyler Hendryx got a steal and McConnell got on the floor for a loose ball to keep the Ram possession.Shelby worked the ball for 16 seconds and Stew-Stras had to start fouling to get Shelby in the bonus and slow the clock.It was desperation time for the Comets. Jason Fry drove and scored. The Comets pressed, but the Rams broke it and Standerfer got a lay-up with 1:43 left, 59-47.Helmuth nailed a trey in transition, but Shelby guard Spencer Shadwell made 1-of-2 foul shots to get the lead back to 10,Helmuth missed a 3-pointer, fry missed a 3-pointer, but Fry drove for two. Fry got another lay-up with 35 seconds left, cutting the deficit to seven at 61-54.Fry kept driving to the hole and scored again, but Standerfer made 3-of-4 foul shots to ice the game.Standerfer and Bence combined for 37 points and Breeden gave them 10 more, eight in the fourth period. Helmuth ended up with a game-high 21, scoring 11 in the third period run. Fulk was held to 11, 10 coming in the first and third periods. Fry finished in a flourish with nine, seven in the fourth.Shelbyville will head to the Vandalia Holiday Tournament after Christmas and Stew-Stras to the Tri-County Tourney.Shelbyville 64,

Stew-Stras 56 Stew-Stras  13-9-21-13—56 Shelbyville  19-19-7-19—64Ram stats: Standerfer 19 (2-2s, 4-3 pt FGs, 3/4 FTs), Bence 18 (9 FGs, 0/2FTs), Breeden 10 (4 FGs, 2/3 FTs), McConnell 5 (2 FGs, 1/2 FTs), Shadwell4 (FG, 2/4 FTs), Keown 2 (FG) , Schwengel 2 (FG, 0/1 FTs), Hendryx 2 (FG),C. Williams 2 (FG). Team FGs 26. 3-Pointers: 4 (Standerfer). Team FTs 8-of-16.Stew-Stras stats: Helmuth 21 (1-2, 4-3 pt FGs, 7/8 FTs),  Fulk 11 (5 FGs, 1/2FTs), Fry 9 (4 FGs, 1/4 FTs), Luce 8 (4 FGs), Becker 7 (2 FGs, 3/4 FTs).Team FGs 20. 3-Pointers: 4 (Helmuth). Team FTs  12-of-18.