The St. Thomas More Cougars claimed their third straight state title on Friday Night, beating the University High Cubs 57-56.
It was a close game that came down to the final seconds. Two perfect free throws from Junior Guard Jaden Shelvin put the Cougars ahead with less than 30 seconds to play.
It was a moment he’s prepared for his entire career.
“Once I got fouled, I knew I would have to make both of them to put us up by one,” Shelvin says. “So the thing I do when I go up to shoot free throws is just pretend like nobody’s there.”
And no one really was there. Amid coronavirus concerns, no fans of either team could attend the game. An unprecedented scenario, but it took Shelvin back to how he practiced his free throws.
“You shoot with confidence,” Shelvin says. “It’s like I’m in the gym by myself with no pressure on me. You shoot it, and it goes in.”
In a game against St. Michael this season, Shelvin went 10-for-10 from the charity stripe, earning him a spot in the STM record books.
And he never missed a free throw in the entire post-season.
It’s performances like that where head coach Danny Broussard is thankful Shelvin is a Cougar.
“It’s what you call clutch,” Broussard says. “That’s a pressure situation right there. When I saw him going to the line, I really felt good about it. He’s just a clutch player.”
With winning the third straight state title, Shelvin has the opportunity to accomplish a goal he set for himself before his freshman season.
“It means a lot,” Shelvin says. “It’s been my goal since freshman year to win four. You can’t win four without three.”
And the Cougars definitely have a shot at four straight. The two leading scorers from Friday night — Jaden Shelvin and Carter Domingue combined for 35 of STM’s 57 points. Both of them are juniors. Senior year will be special.