MINERAL — Every athlete visualizes being in “the zone.”
Last Thursday, Louisa County basketball player Chris Shelton experienced it.
The senior shooting guard scored a season-high 34 points to lead the Lions to a 92-56 home victory over Powhatan in the Jefferson District opener for both schools. He needed just 22 minutes to sink a career-high 10 3-pointers, which ranks among the top performances in the Virginia High School League history.
The milestone also garnered him Schewels Athlete of the Week honors.
“I went into the Powhatan [game] as if it was a normal game,” Shelton said. “I didn’t do anything different than I would in any other game. I come out every night with the same mentality. It’s a big achievement in my career, but I have a lot more work to do to get where I want my game to be.”
His performance was the best in the state since Honaker’s Brett Boyd knocked down 10 shots from distance since last February in a game against Twin Valley. The state record for 3-pointers in a game is 14, which was set by Council’s Travis Viers in December of 2009.
For Shelton, last week’s performance was the culmination of more than a decade playing the sport.
“I started playing basketball around the first grade,” he said. “I also played football growing up, but I stopped playing and focused more on basketball because I had more of a passion for it.”
The drive to succeed on the hardwood is in his blood. His father, Robert, was a two-time Battlefield District Player of the Year at Louisa County and went on to play collegiately at Ohio State and later at VCU.
In 2015, Robert Shelton returned to coach his alma mater after a stint at Monticello. Chris said he has enjoyed playing for his father.
“The offense we run is designed to create an advantage for everyone to use their strengths,” Chris Shelton said. “On the court, he’s my coach and once we are home, we become father and son. We rarely discuss basketball at home.”
The results on the court are evident. In two games this season, he’s averaged 28.5 points a game and has shot 56 percent from the floor. The senior sharpshooter has made 14 of 23 shots from beyond the arc.
“My favorite play in our offense is called ‘Motion’,” Chris Shelton said. “When we run it, it makes the defense scramble and have to be active and that gives us a mindset to be creative and play free in order to score. On every play, we try to play aggressive and take what the defense gives us.”
The Louisa County senior said he patterns his playing style after Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard C.J. McCollum.
“His ability to score with skill is outstanding and that’s what I’m working to improve in my game,” he said. “Just to be skilled in every part of my game. My most underrated part of my game is rebounding and creating [offense] for others.”
Off the court, Chris Shelton is just as talented. He loves spending time with family and friends and giving back to the community through myriad service projects. He’s also an active member in his church and sings in the choir.
In the classroom, his favorite subject is science and he even tutors others in it. One of his biggest achievements was being inducted into the National Honor Society this fall.
Shelton has received interest to play on the college level too. He entered the season with a scholarship offer from North Carolina A&T.
“I’m enjoying the [recruiting] process, going into the gym and working hard knowing nothing comes easy,” Shelton said. “Coaches like my ability to knock down shots and how it would translate to the next level.”
Even though they are just two games into the season, Shelton is pleased with his team’s performance thus far.
“The season has started off really well,” he said. “My expectations for the rest of the season is as a team, we get better and better every time we step on the floor and become more sound. A perfect season would be us going all the way to states and bringing it home to Louisa.”