Central High School boys' basketball traveled to Shelbyville Thursday looking to rebound from its first loss of 2019 two days earlier. It was a close, low-scoring game, but the Raiders held on to close out the regular season with a 49-38 victory.
"A win is a win. We'll take it however we can get it," Coach Micah Williams said afterward. "The guys just kept scraping, got some really good performances off the bench."
Connor Shemwell came off the bench for one of his best games of the season, hitting five points in the fourth quarter to help the Raiders break away. Rod Brinkley also came off the bench with late-game points on the way to the win.
Strong performances from these and other players off the bench came with the District 8-AAA Tournament looming next week.
"The more guys you can play, the better off you're gonna be," Williams said. "I think these guys are confident, they're ready for when their name's called."
Kyle Farless got the Raiders on the board in the game's first three seconds to put the boys ahead early. After two Shelbyville three-pointers put the Golden Eagles ahead 6-4, Chase Simpkins tied it at seven each before a Farless three-pointer put CHS back in front. By the first quarter's close, the Raiders had put a little distance between themselves and Shelbyville with a 14-9 lead.
CHS managed to stay ahead in the second quarter, but Shelbyville tightened the lead. After the Golden Eagles missed a shot that would have tied it at 21, Darius Rozier hit a free throw to make it a 22-19 game at halftime.
A close third quarter followed, with Shelbyville briefly taking the lead with just over two minutes on the clock. Down 28-27, Shemwell hit a three-pointer to put the Raiders back in control by two. Another Golden Eagle basket tied it up, sending the game into the fourth quarter at 30 apiece.
Rozier put CHS back in front early in the final quarter, with a free throw from Farless making it a 33-30 game. After a Shelbyville three-pointer tied it again, Rozier hit two from the free throw line followed by a field goal. Brinkley hit a basket not long after to give the Raiders some more breathing room. The Raiders continued to push away, finishing the game ahead by 11.
"Happy we got the dub," Rozier said. "We've still got stuff to work on after coming off a loss. We battled through it and I was happy."
Rozier led the way for the Raiders with 14 points. He was followed by Shemwell with 11 points, with Farless right behind at 10. Simpkins finished with six, with Brinkley coming in at four points. Jaxon Vaughn and Harley Hinshaw had two each.