Shelbyville holds State Championship ring ceremony

Event held Monday evening at Shelbyville High School

Ribbons, medals, and trophies are cherished possessions for those of us lucky enough to receive them, but ask anyone that has one, and they will quickly tell you that a championship ring is on a whole different level. After weeks and weeks of waiting, the Shelbyville Dragons have received their 2A Basketball State Championship Rings. The wait wasn’t easy for these boys, as excitement amplified their impatience.

State championship rings are a dream for almost every student-athlete, but only a select few ever get to wear one. They symbolize an achievement that so few ever obtain. Shelbyville has been blessed with three basketball state championships throughout the years. The Dragons won it all in 1982, 1984, and now 35 years later in 2019.

On Monday, June 3, the community of Shelbyville gathered together to celebrate the ultimate 2A Basketball achievement of a state championship. Coach David Schmitt and the Dragons started the night off by expressing their gratitude toward the community at large. Coach Schmitt thanked the parents and administrators for making this the “easiest job” he has ever had. After expressing their gratitude, coach Schmitt moved on to presenting his athletes with certificates of achievement. Those in attendance were granted an inside look at each of the players through the eyes of coach Schmitt. He described Cole Ferguson’s leadership, John Quintero’s ability to get a crowd behind him, and even Jay Buckley’s occasional hard-headedness. It’s clear that Schmitt has taken an interest in each and every one of his ball players.

Later, coach Schmitt turned the floor over to Joe Tom Schillings. Schillings was the last man to bring home a Shelbyville Basketball State Championship. Coach Schillings led the Dragons in 1982 and 1984. He was also given the honor of handing out medals to the Dragons following their 2019 championship. Schillings praised the Dragons’ hard work and recognized them for having won more games (37-3) than any other team in Shelbyville’s history. As he handed out the medals, it was only fitting that he assisted in the presentation of the rings. Rob Merriman took the floor as Schillings and Shelbyville superintendent Dr. Ray West handed out the main event.

The team waited until every individual had possession of their box before opening them together. Their reaction was priceless. Each athlete’s eyes lit up as he got the first glimpse of his championship ring. It was a moment they will all remember for years to come.

Merriman closed out the ceremony with one of his customary pep talks. Normally these take place before a game, but in this case, it came at the end of it all. He encouraged the champions to be ready for what comes next, whether that’s a season defending a state championship, or moving onto the next chapter of their lives.

2019 was a year of basketball that Shelbyville won’t soon forget. The Dragons were dominant all year, finishing with a record of 37-3. They were undefeated in district play and won their second straight Region III Championship. The year prior, Shelbyville made the State Tournament, but fell in the State Semi-Finals. 2019 was the year dubbed the year of unfinished business by the Dragons, and in the State Final, Shelbyville took care of business to the tune of a 67-48 victory over the Gruver Greyhounds.