The Shelbyville Central Golden’ Eaglettes placed just five players in the scoring column, but a balanced effort and an electric crowd opened the Kyle Turnham era with a 52-37 win over visiting Nolensville in Tuesday night’s season opener.
“I loved our balance tonight. We had four players in double figures and I really like to see that. It makes it impossible to know who to key on. The funny thing is, when you go back and look, you see different players coming through at different stages,” Turnham said.
The Eaglettes saw four players reach double figures, with Jaleigha Harris and Lilly Brown each banking 13 points, while Lanaya Young and Paige Blackburn scored 11 points apiece.
Points were at a premium early on and while the Eaglettes’ effort was never a question, finding the bottom of the basket was an inconsistency for the home team.
By the end of the first quarter, Shelbyville clung to a slim, 7-6 lead over the visitors.
With fouls piling up, Blackburn and Harris were forced to the bench, which allowed Turnham to utilize the depth from the bench.
Still, Nolensville seized the opportunity to pile up 12 points in the second quarter from five different players.
While the first half was a grind on the offensive end of the floor, the Eaglettes were able to execute their pressure defense and in turn, capitalize on points in transition.
With a combined 11 points in the first half, the Eaglettes erupted for 26 points in the third frame.
“The big thing for me was what kind of identity were we going to play with. We have really focused on playing to a standard. I felt like that our energy level was good at the beginning of the game, but the payoff level wasn’t. We missed quite a few layups, but settled down in the second half and started making some shots,” Turnham said.
Blackburn led the perimeter assault, connecting on three triples in the third, while Harris chipped in eight points.
That trend continued into the fourth quarter as the Eaglettes went on a 15-8 run to close the out the game.
On opening night in Rick Insell Gymnasium, the crowd became a factor as the momentum shifted in the Eaglettes’ favor in the second half.
“The crowd tonight was incredible. It was electric. There was so much energy in the gym. As I told the girls so many times, our biggest thing is the energy comes from the crowd down to them, but instead it’s their play that generates the energy from the crowd,” Turnham said.
“I think the crowd really got into how hard our kids played. Above and beyond everything else, I’m just really proud for the girls that they got the validation for their effort.”
Shelbyville was scheduled to play at Forrest on Friday night, but due to the Rockets’ quarterfinal football game, the Eaglettes’ game has been canceled.
The Eaglettes will return to action on Tuesday at Smyrna.
Nolensville 6 12 11 8 — 37
Shelbyville Central 7 4 26 15 — 52
Nolensville: Leilani Washington 8, Sara Grubesic 8, Paige Dickinson 7, Chloe Earls 5, Olivia Gallaway 5.
Shelbyville Central (52): Jaleigha Harris 13, Lilly Brown 13, Lanaya Young 11, Paige Blackburn 11, Sammie Brown 4.
3-Point goals: Shelbyville Central (3): Blackburn 3; Nolensville (2): Gallaway, Earls.
Halftime score: Nolensville 18, Shelbyville Central 11.