Elma boys fall to Shelton after slow offensive start

Elma couldn’t get its offense off the ground until the game was already out of reach against Shelton in non-league boys basketball.

The Highclimbers defeated the Eagles, 66-46, in a season opener on Nov. 30.

Shelton came out aggressively on defense and employed a lot of press that forced a lot of turnovers which helped the Highclimbers get their own easy transition points.

After getting some early buckets from Carter Jacobson, Killian Acuff and Cody Vollan, Elma’s offense stalled for the final three minutes of the quarter while Shelton continued to pull away.

With the score at 17-6 heading into the second quarter, Shelton continued to pull away even further. Shelton put up another 22 points in the second frame while the Eagles only added five points to their total.

The turnover margin was as lopsided in the second quarter. The press proved to be even more affective in the second quarter as the defensive pressure wasn’t even allowing the Eagles to get comfortable in their half court offense.

Elma head coach Jeff Niemi said he was expecting an uptempo game and an aggressive strategy but the Highclimbers still found a way to surprise him by closing down passing lanes that he thought would be open.

The game was out of hand but the second half saw a much-improved offensive approach from the Eagles.

Sam Schneider and Brady Johnston opened up the quarter with back to back 3-pointers that helped energize the Eagles after the halftime break.

The long-range shots that weren’t falling in the first half were falling which helped open the inside game where Schneider and Derique Richey got and converted on quality looks in the paint.

Niemi said a simplified approach helped jump start things for his shooters.

Despite the loss, the Eagles came away with a moral victory and outscored the Highclimbers in the second half. The Eagles did a much better job of controlling the ball and only turned the ball over twice in the second half after giving the ball away 15 times in the first 16 minutes.

Vollan paced the Eagles with 15 points.