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Bruising to win: Junior sacrifices body for victories

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Shelby Drews proudly points to the black and blue bruises that dot her knees and legs.

PHYSICAL PRESENCE – With her physical play and willingness to sacrifice her body, Shelby Drews leads the Decatur Lady Eagles in scoring this season, averaging 14.3 points per game. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“They are pretty, aren’t they? I’ve pretty much accepted the fact that my knees are going to look like this during basketball season,” Drews said. “Luckily, the basketball shorts are long.”

Those bruises earned on the court are a small price to pay for the physical and determined Drews, who has helped the Decatur Lady Eagles to a 17-5 start, including 2-1 in District 9-3A. The junior leads the Lady Eagles with 14.3 points per game and is second in rebounding at 5.8 per contest.

She is coming off a 22-point night in a win over Bridgeport Friday. It was the fifth time she has scored more than 20 in a game this season.

Drews, who is in her third varsity season, is enjoying her best year, after finding a home at the swing, three-spot for the Lady Eagles.

“I feel more confident than the last couple of seasons,” she explained. “I like the [three] because I can go to the basket and shoot outside.”

From the field, Drews is shooting 43 percent (105-for-245). She’s knocked down three of her six attempts from outside the 3-point arc.

When Drews was called up as a freshman, she played inside as an undersized post.

“She came up as a post because that’s where we needed her,” said Decatur coach Billy Garner. “Sometimes inside she was overmatched. We moved her to the three, but she still could play post if we needed her to.”

Moving away from the basket, she’s quickly become a matchup nightmare with her strength and willingness to sacrifice her body.

“She won’t back down from anyone that’s for sure,” Garner said. “She’s highly competitive.”

Though it is sometimes to her detriment and leads to a few more bruises, she likes mixing it up with opponents on the floor.

“I try to play as physical as I can and it seems that I’m always getting hurt,” she said. “I don’t handle pain very well.”

Fortunately all the injuries have been minor and have not kept her off the floor.

“It’s just after the fact she complains,” Garner said.

But nothing led to more complaining from Drews than the December ice storm that kept the self-described gym rat out of the gym.

“I was so bored; it was awful,” she said.

“I love playing basketball. I don’t know what I’d do if I was not playing. I’m in the gym every day.”

Garner verifies that Drews is on the floor nearly every time he unlocks the gym.

“She’s a gym rat,” the Decatur coach said. “Most of the time, she’s up here and putting in the extra work.”

Drews is taking additional instruction to help with her footwork.

“Because I’m kinda slow,” she admits.

While she’s enjoying a strong season, the motivated Drews still wants to see her game grow in the next year.

“I’ve got a lot of improving to do between my junior and senior year,” she said.

But she’s not overlooking the rest of this season after a strong start by the Lady Eagles, who head to Sanger for the final game of the first half of league play Friday.

“We didn’t think we’d be this good,” Drews said. “Once we started playing, we jelled. I’m super proud of my team.”

And the bruises that come during the wins are definitely worth it to her.

“Sometimes I don’t know how I get them,” she said. “It’s worth it, especially when we get a win.”

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