ANDERSON — Dribbling down the court inside the Kardatzke Wellness Center on Friday afternoon, Sydney Shelton makes short work of her defender.
Veering left in transition with her eyes fixed forward, the guard sees a peripheral opening and goes for it, firing a precision no-look pass across the lane for an imminent two points.
Not this time. Dead on target but mishandled.
Undone as two of her teammates collide on the reception, Shelton’s assist falls harmlessly out of bounds.
Maybe next time, the soon-to-be Mt. Vernon senior shrugs as she jogs back on defense.
“In a lot of these events you don’t know who you’re playing with or against, sort of like this,” Shelton remarked after the 2015 Indiana Class Basketball All-Star Classic at Anderson University.
“With the Junior Indiana All-Stars (this month), I knew all those girls and the seniors, so it was a little bit easier. In events like this, it always takes a while to get started because you’re not familiar with each other.”
More of a pickup game for Shelton and her All-Star Classic team, rhythm developed with trial and error.
Paired with the second Red Team (of four Junior girls teams overall), the Marauders’ all-time leading scorer admits, she “literally didn’t know one person” on her roster.
With zero practice time beforehand, the newness had an early effect on the Red Team, which trailed by 30 points in the second half before losing to the White Team 107-92.
Shelton finished with 10 points in 17 of the game’s 40 minutes and added five rebounds, a blocked shot, five assists and a pair of 3-point daggers.
Eight of her points materialized in the second half — particularly in the fourth quarter — as she fueled her team’s late comeback with a 21-9 run.
“You have to find a rhythm. You have to get used to each other. Know what everyone does best,” Shelton said. “In the second half, I feel like we were a little bit better at that.”
Shelton opened the quarter by blocking Pike’s Alyssa Clay, scoping up the ball on the run and finding Indianapolis Tindley’s Ariyan Hines for a breakaway layup.
On the next sequence, she threaded a pass through the defense for a quick two points by Benton Central’s Kaylan Coffman. Another assist to Hines cut the deficit to 20 points and her deep 3-pointer from NBA range sliced the White Team’s lead 86-69.
“I feel like I should have started doing that earlier,” Shelton laughed. “I was a little mad I didn’t this game, but you know.”
Before she walked off the court for good, Shelton connected with Fort Wayne Bishop Luers’ Kate Wolfe twice for 3-pointers and buried two free throws with her team down by only 14 points.
Center Grove’s Lauren Rau, the game’s most outstanding player, made sure the lead stayed in the White Team’s favor the rest of the way. The Lipscomb commit scored 16 points with four assists.
The victory gave the White Teams the sweep as Heritage Christian’s Tyasha Harris, who was named most outstanding player, hit a game-winning 3-pointer from nearly half court to win the first of the junior girls’ double-header 89-86.
For Shelton, the experience marked her third all-star event in two weeks after playing as a Junior Indiana All-Star core member with Harris against the seniors in two exhibition games.
“It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve taken every single event as it comes and cherished every single one,” Shelton said. “We got to play in front of a lot of people and the big Indy basketball fans. You get to support your hometown, and you get to play among your friends.”
While in solo mode during her 2015 all-star finale Friday, the rest of her summer AAU schedule is packed with familiar faces — ones she can’t wait to see.
“Big summer of AAU,” Shelton said. “This is our last summer because next summer we won’t be here, so this is the last hurrah for travel ball.”
As a member of Best Choice Select in Fishers, Shelton’s U-17 AAU team competes in the Nike EYBL Circuit. Prior to her all-star break, the team went 4-1 at the Boo Williams Nike Invitational in Virginia.
Next month, the team travels to Tennessee for the Battle in the Boro in Nashville. The end goal is in late July at the Nike Nationals in Augusta, Ga.
“AAU is totally different. It’s more like the Indiana All-Star game,” Shelton said. “High-level caliber girls.”
Teamed with Jackie Young (Princeton), Lindsay Corsaro (Roncalli), Darby Foresman (Heritage Christian), Cameron Onken (Lafayette Central Catholic), Jayla Scaife (Muncie Central), Karissa McLaughlin (Homestead), Dana Evans (Gary West Side), and Ae’Rianna Harris (Lawrence North), Shelton is eager to represent Indiana.
Her all-star journey has been the ideal warm-up, though, she doesn’t need much time to get loose. She can turn it at a moments notice, according to Harris.
“She’s a lights out shooter. When the ball is in her hands, she’s either going to make a play, get fouled or hit that three,” said Harris, who played AAU with Shelton for six years. “I love watching her play. She took over today when she needed to. We learned about that a long time ago, sometimes you have to take control.”
2015 Indiana Class Basketball All-Star Classic
at Anderson University
Juniors Red 3; 11;20;25;36;-92
Juniors White 4;27;30;25;25;-107
Juniors Red 3 — Taya Andrews 2-3 2-2 7, Ariyan Hines 4-10 3-4 11, Kaylan Coffman 3-8 4-5 10, Mykala Baylor 4-8 2-2 10, Sydney Shelton 3-10 2-2 10, Jenee Goodwin 1-4 7-8 9, Carrie Lawson 2-4 0-2 4, Elizabeth McIntyre 3-6 1-2 7, Emma Wolfe 5-9 4-7 15. Totals 30-70 25-34 92.
Juniors White 4 — Lauren Rau 7-9 0-0 16, Allie McCool 5-13 2-2 12, Aliyah Walker 4-6 9-9 17, Alyssa Clay 7-12 0-2 17, Kyndall Spears 3-7 0-0 6, Kambrey Jolley 1-4 2-4 4, Toni Lautzenheiser 0-1 0-0 0, Kyleigh Kubik 2-7 2-2 7, Alexis Nall 5-8 2-4 13, Tashayla Sutorius 6-13 3-3 15. Totals 40-80 20-26 107.
Rebounds: JR3 38 (Andrews 7, Baylor 5, Shelton 5, Lawson 4, McIntyre 4), JW4 50 (Walker 14, McCool 8, Jolley 8, Nall 5)
3-pointers: JR3 7-18 (Andrews 1-2, Hines 0-1, Shelton 2-5, Goodwin 0-1, Wolfe 3-7, White 1-2); JW4 7-18 (Rau 2-2, McCool 0-2, Clay 3-3, Spears 0-2, Jolley 0-2, Kubik 1-3, Nall 1-3, Sutorius 0-1).
Assists: JR3 15 (Shelton 5, Goodwin 4, Hines 2); JW4 15 (Rau 4, Walker 3). Fouls: JR3 20, JW4 19. Fouled Out: none.