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Girls basketball: Shamblin, Nitro hold off Beckley

NITRO, W.Va. -- There is probably no greater pressure -- or motivation -- for a young kid than beating her older sibling.

Nitro sophomore Savannah Shamblin grew up trying to keep up -- before eventually passing -- her older brother on the basketball court.

Compared to those backyard battles, Tuesday night's tight contest against visiting Beckley paled in comparison.

After a comparatively quiet first half, Shamblin scored 22 points, including eight in the fourth quarter, as the Wildcats (7-5) defeated the Flying Eagles 46-44.

Beckley made several runs in the fourth quarter and cut the lead to one once, two twice and to three points three times.

Nitro answered first with a Shamblin 3-pointer and then from the free throw line, hitting 10-of-16 in the fourth. Shamblin sank 5-of-6.

"I like the pressure," she said. "I enjoy it."

Melissa Belcher made two with 13 seconds remaining that ended up being the game winners as the Flying Eagles' Bre Thompson converted a three-point play with 3 seconds left.

Shamblin was introduced to basketball when she "was teeny-tiny" by her 1-year older brother Solomon, and later tried softball but decided it "was not for me."

The 5-foot-3 Shamblin has always been the main ballhandler, the point guard, and she would not want to change that because she likes "being in control."

She stuck with basketball, while her brother stars at shortstop for the Dots baseball team, which begs the question: Can he still beat his little sister?

"He wishes he could beat me," Shamblin said with a wide smile.

This season the Wildcats have made several opponents feel the same way, although it hasn't always been easy.

On Tuesday, Nitro hit just 13-of-49 shots (27 percent).

"But like all year at the end we seem to hit the shot or the free throw when we need it most," Wildcats Coach Will Samuel said.

Much like its floor leader, Nitro plays better under pressure.

"(Shamblin) is a huge part of it," Samuel said.

"We do what we can to get the ball in her hands, I trust her, she's a very smart basketball player."

Despite both teams starting slowly, the Wildcats used a pressure defense that forced Beckley into 19 first-half turnovers to grab the lead.

Neither team scored until a Flying Eagle free throw at the 5:14 mark of the first quarter. Nitro followed with a free throw at the 3:59 mark.

The Wildcats led 9-5 after one period and 22-15 at halftime.

Beckley took better care of the ball in the second half and the game tightened, but Nitro never relinquished its lead.

"I'm happy with everything but keeping their post players off the boards," Samuel said. "That was what got them back in the game, second-chance shots."

The Flying Eagles (4-9) outrebounded the Wildcats 42-23 but could make just 15-of-41 shots from the field.

Thompson paced the Flying Eagles with 13, while Sarah Akers chipped in with 10. Kelli Douglas' 11 points supported Shamblin's game-high total.

Beckley (4-9)    FG    3Pt    FT    Pts

Sarah Akers    3-6    0-0    4-4    10

Kavita Francis    3-6    0-1    3-5    9

Ty Hairston    0-2    0-0    0-0    0

Bre Thompson    4-5    0-0    5-13    13

Summer Butler    3-8    0-0    2-3    8

Jasha Payne    2-6    0-0    0-0    4

Paige Lewis    0-2    0-0    0-0    0

Rebekah Cook    0-6    0-0    0-0    0

Lashonda McDowell    0-0    0-0    0-0    0

Bre Staunton    0-0    0-0    0-0    0

Brenda Pudder    0-0    0-0    0-0    0

Totals    15-41    0-1    14-25    44

Percentages    .366    .000    .560

Nitro (7-5)    FG    3Pt    FT    Pts

Savannah Shamblin    7-22    3-9    5-6    22

Melissa Belcher    1-2    0-0    2-2    4

Kelli Douglas    3-7    0-0    5-6    11

Bethany Hill    0-8    0-0    0-0    0

Halie Miller    1-4    0-0    5-10    7

Haley Mace    0-1    0-0    0-0    0

Maddie Godby    1-5    0-0    0-0    2

Totals    13-48    3-9    17-24    46

Percentages    .271    .333    .708

Beckley    5    10    11    18    -    44

Nitro    9    13    9    15    -    46

Rebounds: Beckley 42 (Payne 12), Nitro 23 (Belcher 7).

Turnovers: Beckley 23, Nitro 9.

 


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