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Shilhavy’s buzzer-beater starts L-E season off on the right foot

Posted: December 3, 2018 2:23 p.m.
Updated: December 4, 2018 1:00 a.m.
Tom Didato/C-I

L-E’S ZARRIUS SALMOND (24) and teammate Spencer Hinton (21), along with North Central’s Tyrek Jenkins (11), watch as the ball sails out of bounds in first half action from Friday’s game at L-E.

It was a wild ending to a new beginning.

Playing their first regular season game since losing some 47 points to graduation last spring, Lugoff-Elgin used a 10-foot Austin Shilhavy buzzer-beater to kick off the 2018-19 boys’ basketball season with a wild, if not improbable, 59-58 win over visiting North Central Friday night inside The Demons Den.

While Shilhavy, a 6-foot-4 senior, will go down as the man who made the game winner, it sophomore James Anderson who kept the ball in play and had the assist on the final shot.

The visiting Knights held a 58-53 lead with 40 seconds left in the game after senior guard Avante’ Reynolds had a stripe/seal at half court which he turned into a layin. Zarrius Salmond answered for the Demons by driving through the paint for an easy basket.

Having three fouls to give before NC would be in the one and the bonus situation, the Demons committed a pair of quick fouls; the second giving NC the ball on its side of the court on the inbounds pass with 15 ticks left in the game clock. When the pass went toward the Demons’ basket,  L-E’s Jordan Williams outran his man to the ball and went in for the layup which trimmed the deficit to 58-57 with 9.2 seconds left as L-E head coach Garrett Knight called a quick timeout to set up his team’s man-to-man press on the inbounds pass.

The throw-in went to three-quarters court only to be flagged down by Williams, who took a few dribbles and sent a pass to Shilhavy near midcourt. The ball glanced off Shilhavy’s leg with some five seconds left only to be chased down by a diving Anderson, who batted the ball back to a wide-open Shilhavy’s direction inside the lane which Shilhavy got off a tick before the buzzer with the ball going through the nets with the horn blowing while setting off a wild celebration.

As he wiped the sweat from his face in an interview conducted in the cool outside air, Knight said he could not scripted a better ending to start his team’s season.

“We drew it up and, I wanted to get pressure on the ball,” Knight said of his team’s time out prior to NC taking the ball inbounds in the closing 10 seconds. “I said, ‘Guys, don’t let them get behind you.’ I know (NC’s) Markell (Portee) is a great receiver but, Jordan Williams got the ball back for us, pushed it up the floor and we had a little bobble but, Austin Shilhavy made a senior play and made the floater to win the game. That was a heck of a shot by him.”

The loss was the second in as many outings for NC which fell to Camden, 84-65, on Tuesday. Losses don’t come any tougher than this one said second-year Knights’ head coach Kerry Hayes, especially went his team went away from the designed inbounds play with a one-point lead.

“It doesn’t,” Hayes said as he walked toward his team’s locker room. “Our guys played a little crazy there at the end. We had a designed play for the out of bounds play. I think our two guys had something going and, they threw it long; that wasn’t the designed play.

“Hopefully, they’ll understand that they need to run what we tell them to run. Maybe this will be a learning lesson for us.”

Sophomore center Tyshaun Cobb led L-E with 17 points followed by Shilhavy’s 16, with his game-winner his only bucket from the field in the fourth quarter. Senior center Tyrek Jenkins led the guests and all scorers with 18 points followed by Portee’s 15.

L-E carried a 45-42 lead into the final quarter after a 3-point jumper from Cobb and a Portee drive closed the scoring in the closing 12 seconds of the third quarter.

The Knights took the lead in the first 57 seconds of the final stanza, at 46-45, on baskets from Jenkins and Tyler Faulkenberry. The Demons took the upper hand, again, when point guard Josh Gary went inside for a stickback and a 47-46 edge only for Dmitri Robinson to return the edge to NC, at 48-47, with 5:41 to play in the game.

With things knotted at 51 following a Gary layup, NC used a short jumper from Jenkins followed by a Faulkenberry 3-point bomb to go on top, 56-51, with 1:45 remaining in the contest. When Reynolds answered a Cobb jumper with his steal and layin with 40 ticks left in the game clock, it looked as if the Knights might be ready to put this one away with a 58-53 lead. The hosts, however, had different plans.

“You know what,” Knight said of his team’s ability to come away with the win, “I tell them every day in practice, ‘Don’t play the score. Just play the game.’ The only time we (look at the score) is after the final shot.”

L-E raced to a quick 8-2 lead with Spencer Hinton and Shilhavy equally dividing the scoring before NC evened things at 8-8 with a 6-0 run capped by Faulkenberry banking home an eight-footer. L-E closed the first eight minutes with a 6-1 surge to lead, 14-9.

With Jenkins scoring seven straight NC points, the guests climbed to within 18-17 early in the second quarter only for the Demons to get baskets from Cobb and Shilhavy which sandwiched a Brandon Robbins trey as L-E extended its lead to 25-17 with 3:23 left in the first half.

NC roared back, scoring the next eight points with Portee’s spin move on a five-foot jumper capping the surge which evened things at 25 with 1:24 to play. The hosts then scored six straight points on a pair of Cobb putbacks followed by Gary’s layup to make it 31-28 in a half which ended with Jenkins converting on both ends of a traditional 3-point play with 33 seconds left as NC trailed, 31-28, at intermission.

The Demons came out and stayed in a zone defense for nearly the entire night. Part of that was by design and partially due to foul problems in the first half.

“I wanted to go into man-to-man but we got into foul trouble early and I felt that we couldn’t control (Jenkins) down low,” Knight said. “We were trying to double him but he’s so fast that he would catch the ball and go up with his shot immediately.

The Knights saw plenty of zone in the first half against Camden and, Hayes said his offense was prepared to attack the L-E zone scheme on Friday.

“We were swinging the ball and passing the ball instead of doing a lot of dribbling,” Hayes said of an offense which was able to find openings near the basket which led to points. “We’d swing the ball around and it would open things down low for us. We did that better than we did the other night and Tyrek was able to get some good looks.”

L-E stormed from the break and used two Shilhavy jumpers with a Salmond 3-ball mixed in between to lead by a game-best 10 points at 38-28 with just less than six minutes left in the third quarter while leading Hayes to call a time out to settle his squad. The Knights would go on a 12-4 spree with Jenkins and Reynolds scoring a pair of baskets each with a Reynolds 10-foot pull-up jumper chopping the once double-digit deficit to 42-40 with a minutes left in a third quarter which ended with L-E leading, 45-42.

“We went up five but just couldn’t hold the lead down the stretch,” Hayes said.

“I told our guys that we had to get in better game shape but, that I didn’t want to run them to death in practice. We just have to be smarter and take care of our bodies.”

With so many new faces trying to play their way to court time while impressing their coach, the Demons enjoyed spirited preseason practices. That, Knight said, carried over into Friday’s game and, hopefully, beyond.

“This team practices so much harder than my team last year,” Knight said. “Last year’s team had more seniors and more skill. This team, though, fights every day in practice and gets after each other. 

“I told them that this might not come overnight and that it might be January before we’re hitting on all cylinders. I just tell them to stay focused and stay all in.”

NC (58): Markell Portee 7 1-2 15, Avante’ Reynolds 3 3-4 9, Tyler Faulkenberry 4 0-3 9, Zy Dunham 1 3-4 5, Tyrek Jenkins 6 4-4 18, Dmitri Robinson 1 0-0 2. Totals: 22 11-17 58

NC (59): Spencer Hinton 2 0-0 4, Austin Shilhavy 8 0-0 16, Tyshaun Cobb 7 2-3 17, Xavien Robinson 1 0-0 2, Jordan Williams 1 2-3 4, Brandon Robbins 1 0-0 3, Josh Gary 3 0-0 6, Zarrius Salmond 3 0- 2 7. Totals: 26 4-8 59

Score by quarters: First: L-E, 14-9; Halftime: L-E 31-28; Third: L-E, 45-42; Three-point goals: NC 1 (Faulkenberry); L-E 3 (Cobb, Robbins, Salmond)

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