Posted On: 02/21/18 12:53 PM
Tuesday night I made my way to Shelbyville to start postseason action with the 30th district semifinals. Collins and Shelby County renewed their rivalry for the third time this season. Shelby showed a lot of fight early on and even led for a couple of brief stretches in the first half. Collins made a run to close the first half that ended with a Jacob Feltner 3 pointer at the buzzer. Collins never looked back in the second half. They extended their lead to more than 20 in the 3rd quarter and kept it there for the rest of the game before winning by a final score of 76-53. Here’s what I took away from the 30th district semifinal:
1. Collins Senior class is really talented. Coach Gaither’s squad features 4 seniors. Feltner, a combo guard, plays primarily off the ball and was on fire on Tuesday night. He’s averaging 15 points per game while shooting a ridiculous 51% from 3 and 92% from the free throw line. Nick Fort is a 6’5 forward that is capable of rebounding the ball and leading the break. He’s had a great senior season, averaging 17 points and 7 rebounds per game while shooting 53% from the field. Nick Eades and Kyle Perdue are capable role players who play hard and maximize their time on the floor while doing nothing to hurt the team. The 2018 group at Collins is a talented one and Feltner and Fort will likely play college ball somewhere next season.
2. But their Sophomore class is even better. The Titans start 3 sophomores in Tyson Turner, Dayvion McKnight and Marcellus Vail and the trio is fun to watch. McKnight was scoring at the rim, from 3 and at the free throw line on his way to 20 points. He also dealt 6 assists and gathered several rebounds. Dayvion is going to get Division I offers, possibly as soon as this spring. Marcellus Vail started the game strong but picked up a bad second foul and never quite got his momentum back. Turner knocked down a 3 early and played great defense all night. There are 3 other sophomores on the Collins roster who didn’t play meaningful minutes in this game. The 2020 group is going to make an impact in the next 2 seasons in the 8th region.
3. Shelby Freshman Noah Gordon has a chance to be really good. But he’ll need to get in better condition and get a better motor. The 6’6 freshman came in off the Shelby bench only a couple minutes into the game and scored 4 quick points and looked like a beast. But within a couple of trips, Gordon looked tired and became less effective. Noah was effective again to start the second half but quickly tired again and had a couple of lazy fouls and argued a travel call that could have resulted in a technical foul with a more high strung referee. Gordon is certainly one to watch in the coming year. He could really develop into a dynamic player. His progression is up to him.
4. Shelby is no longer the powerhouse program they were a decade ago. Before Martha Layne Collins high school was built, Shelby County was a traditional power and consistently a threat to get to Rupp Arena. Since Collins came into existence, they have quickly established dominance over the Rockets and it doesn’t look like that will change soon. Shelby is graduating 5 seniors off of a team that went 6-22 and didn’t win a single game against district foes. Unfortunately it appears that most of the basketball talent is now at Collins and Shelby is not likely to be a statewide powerhouse again for the foreseeable future.
5. Collins is a legitimate threat to win the 8th region again. When I first saw the Titans back in December, they struggled to score in the half court and lost to Madison Central (who was missing Isaiah Cozart for most of the second half). Since then, the Titans have really grown up and turned the corner. They ended up 22-8 with only 2 losses against regional foes and those were both close games. Depending on how the draw goes for the regional tournament next week, Collins could find themselves in a regional championship game with a shot to get back to Rupp Arena.