Only an eighth-grader, Shelby Calhoun continued to show the poise of an upperclassman and led the Christian Academy girls basketball team to a big victory Tuesday.
Calhoun posted posted 22 points and nine rebounds – both game-highs – and added five assists as the Centurions beat North Bullitt 68-60 in the first round of the 44th annual Republic Bank/Coca-Cola Louisville Invitational Tournament at Bellarmine University’s Knights Hall.
“She’s fearless when she gets out there,” CAL coach Perry White said. “She doesn’t get rattled, and most eighth-graders do.”
PHOTO GALLERY | Christian Academy vs. North Bullitt
Calhoun hit 9 of 16 shots, including 3 of 7 from 3-point range, as CAL (13-6) advanced to face Butler in a second-round game at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Emma Wesley added 15 points and seven assists for the Centurions.
Erin Dolan (14 points, five assists, three steals) and Katie Downey (14 points, seven rebounds) led North Bullitt (15-5). After trailing by 13 points midway through the third quarter, the Eagles pulled within two midway through the fourth but couldn’t get over the hump.
“This stat sheet usually wins for us,” said North Bullitt coach David Marion, whose team won the rebounding battle 33-31 and had just two more turnovers (16) and CAL (14). “They just made three more shots than we did. That first push where we got down a little bit was the difference in the game.”
Calhoun was the key to CAL’s third-quarter surge, hitting a trio of 3-pointers and scoring 11 points during a 19-10 run that gave the Centurions a 44-31 lead with 3:03 left.
White said Calhoun’s poise was no surprise. She joined the CAL varsity team last season as a seventh-grader and plays for the prestigious Sky Diggs Elite 2020 AAU team sponsored by WNBA star Skylar Diggins.
“I just go out and play like I did the game before,” Calhoun said. “Last year I got a little more nervous, but now I’m getting more comfortable.”
North Bullitt pulled within 55-53 on Dolan’s jumper with 4:07 left, but CAL responded with a 9-2 run to take control. Wesley capped the run with a layup that made it 64-55 with 1:53 remaining.
“We have really good guards, so we thought we could run on them because they were slower getting up the floor,” Calhoun said.
For CAL, the victory was a bit of revenge from last season when the Centurions lost to North Bullitt 64-49 in the first round of the LIT.
White, then an assistant coach, said it was the only game last season in which he saw the Centurions quit.
“I knew that wasn’t going to happen again,” White said. “It’s just not in their character.”
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and email@example.com.
NORTH BULLITT 14 7 23 16 – 60
CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 16 9 23 20 – 68
North Bullitt (15-5) – Free 13, Tompkins 3, Sutherland 3, Dolan 14, Downey 14, Deel 13.
Christian Academy (13-6) – White 9, Karst 5, Wesley 15, Conti 11, Mann 2, Bowman 4, Calhoun 22.
3-point goals – Free, Tompkins, Sutherland, Downey 2; White, Karst, Wesley, Conti, Calhoun 3.