Shelbyville Dragons take District 22-AA Championship

Dragons slip by Tenaha Tigers in Tuesday night clash, 62-58

The Shelbyville Dragons clinched the District 22-AA Championship with a 11-1 district record and a 28-3 season mark, according to David Schmitt, head boys basketball coach.

“We are ranked #3 in the TABC poll,” he said.

The battles waged by the Shelbyville Dragons and Tenaha Tigers this season are sure to be remembered and talked about for years to come. The first time they met this season in the Special Events Center in Tenaha ended as an overtime thriller with Shelbyville taking home a 78-75 victory. The excitement from that crowd was palpable.

On Tuesday February 12, the Dragons and Tigers dazzled us with, yet another, closely contested, hard-fought game of basketball. 2A basketball doesn’t get much better than this. In the end the Dragons won, 62-58.

Tenaha’s JJ Patton faced off against LD Coleman for the tip and secured the ball for the Tigers. Erik Smith was the first to score putting the Tigers up two.

Kolby Parker answered with a bucket for the Dragons tying the game at two. This back-and-forth nature held for all 32 minutes of play. Just when it appeared that Shelbyville had gained a bit of breathing room, the Tigers would turn up the heat to close the gap. By the end of the first period Tenaha had gained a two-point advantage over the Dragons with a score of 19-17.

Emotions ran high when Marcus Horton of Shelbyville dove for a ball early in the second quarter and landed on Michael Hogg of Tenaha. The officials separated the teams before things could escalate too far, but it was clear that both teams wanted to bring home a win in their quest for a potential district title.

Jordan Boykins continues to be a three-point threat for the Dragons. He threw a very convincing head-fake that moved a Tiger defender out of position enough to knock down a three to tie the game at 22. A short time later, Jay Buckley took the lead despite a foul that sent him to the line for the and-one free throw.

Buckley continues to impress with his stellar play. Buckley connected with LD Coleman on a fast break with what has to be the slickest bounce pass I’ve ever seen. There was a scare for the Dragons in the latter half of the second period, when Jordan Boykins went down with an apparent injury.

Luckily for the Dragons, he was able to return before the end of the first half.

Tenaha never let up the pressure. The Tigers maintained a close proximity to the Dragons throughout the first half of play.

Tenaha’s own three-point specialist, Hayden Jenkins, knocked down two from beyond the arch, one of which beat the halftime buzzer. To add to the drama, it appeared that Jenkins may have been fouled on the shot, but no call was made. The half would end with Shelbyville earning a 32-28 lead.

The excitement continued in the third period with Smith immediately trimming the lead to two. After a bit more play, Jenkins tied the game for the Tigers at 33 with another three-pointer. Shelbyville earned a slight advantage over the Tigers, but a technical foul on Buckley for a shot after the official’s whistle gave Jenkins the opportunity to tie things back up at 37. Late in the third the Tigers secured a 43-42 advantage that would hold headed into the final quarter of play.

The Tigers held onto their advantage late into the fourth, before Hogg was charged with a technical foul for another altercation with Horton. Boykins was able to knock down both shots from the charity line to tie things up once again. Tenaha fought to get back on top, but LD Coleman came up clutch late with a bucket while being fouled.

The two points from the layup put Shelbyville up by one and the and-one free throw put them up by two. With only 1:18 seconds to play the Tigers fought back and tied things at 58, but in the end, Shelbyville would earn a sweep over Tenaha with a final score of 62-58.

“This was all coach’s plan. If we rebound and score, we’re going to win,” said LD Coleman after the win.

“[These Shelbyville-Tenaha games] always live up to the hype, and that’s hard to do,” said Shelbyville Coach David Schmitt. “We have a lot of respect for them, they have a lot of respect for us, and that’s why it’s a really good rivalry. The kids all know each other, and they talk trash, but they have a lot of respect for each other, and it shows out there.”

This marked a special win for Coach Schmitt, as this was his 600th career win. “It was nice, because I’ve only been here four years now, and I got 500 my first year, and we’ve won over 100 games here in the last four years. It’s a great place with an unbelievable group of kids,” said Schmitt

Buckley led the Dragons with a 28-point game, followed by Coleman with 13 and Boykins with 12. Hayden Jenkins was on fire for the Tigers knocking down five threes and going four for four from the free throw line for a total of 19. Hogg wasn’t far behind with a 15-point total of his own.

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