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Golden Bears end season at East Central

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Shelbyville's Nolan Parker looks to score near the goal on Tuesday at the East Central Sectional.
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Shelbyville head coach Ben Purvis talks to his team at halftime on Tuesday.
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Shelbyville junior goalie Kaleb Schaf collects the ball and looks for an open teammate on Tuesday at East Central. SHS senior Carson Blair looks on from behind.

By KRIS MILLS - kmills@shelbynews.com

After the first meeting of the season between Greenfield-Central and Shelbyville, Golden Bears' head coach Ben Purvis joked about the two teams meeting again in the first round of the sectional. Although he was not serious, Purvis ended up being right. Following a tight, 1-0 contest earlier this season, 3A No. 12 Greenfield-Central and Shelbyville met again Tuesday at the East Central Sectional. 

It was a bad draw for both teams, as neither probably wanted to play the other in its first postseason game — given the first contest was so intense. 

The Cougars made the most of it, though, in a 3-0 win Tuesday. A skilled Greenfield-Central team scored its first goal with 18 minutes to play in the first half off a rebound and took a 1-0 lead into the break. Shelbyville, pressing hard for a score, could not catch up after two second-half scores from G-C. Seniors Tyler Murphy, Caleb Mundell and Zack Bell were credited with scores for the Cougars. Bell now has 30 goals this season. 

The Golden Bears, who held the Hoosier Heritage Conference Traveling Trophy for a period of time this season, ended their campaign with a 10-5-2 record after an 0-2-2 start. The team won the traveling trophy (bell) in a win against Delta but was forced to hand it over in the aforementioned 1-0 loss to the Cougars, who are now 16-1 this season. 

Coach Purvis said Shelbyville needed a "perfect" game to win against Greenfield-Central, which is one of the best teams in the state. 

"Unfortunately we made a mistake and gifted them an easy first goal," Purvis said. "But this team always fights, and I am proud that they didn't give up. 

"A few Greenfield defenders said they were nervous (before the game), because we pressured them more than they had experienced all season."

SHS finished its season with a 6-1 mark in the Hoosier Heritage Conference. G-C won the conference title with a 7-0 record. 

"From top to bottom, this was the most enjoyable team to coach," Purvis added. "This was the best defense we have had in probably a decade.

"They all truly acted like a family all season."

Senior Cory Taylor scored a team-high 13 goals and added six assists this season, while junior Oscar Hernandez finished with 10 goals and eight assists. Senior Nolan Parker added seven goals.

The senior class, which also includes Carson Blair, Hector Daza, Cameron Baker, Evan Witte and Jackson Browning, is "special" to Purvis. He has been with the group since they were in sixth grade. 

"They gave me my first shot at coaching with a travel team when they were in sixth grade," Purvis said. "They bought in to everything I was trying to teach them and supported me as I grew as a coach. 

"They have all developed into the type of leaders that coaches dream of having. It is always sad to see talent and experience graduate, but next year's group will have some massive shoes to fill in the leadership department."

Note: SHS junior keeper Kaleb Schaf finished the year with 136 saves and eight shutouts. He had a season-high 14 saves in the loss Tuesday. 

Kris Mills is the Sports editor of The Shelbyville News. Follow Kris on Twitter @KrisMills37.