Shawe Memorial’s Taylor Rhoten (right, 25) goes up for a basket behind the defense of Rising Sun’s Jeremy Cravens (40) and Hilltopper coach Matt Traylor (above) pleads for a foul call. Rhoten scored a career-high 19 points in Shawe’s 48-33 win. “ ... when he does his work to get open he can be very hard to guard and he’s starting to really get that,” Traylor said of Rhoten. “He’s starting to understand what he needs to do and what that can mean for us.”<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->(Staff photos by Mark Campbell)
Shawe Memorial’s Taylor Rhoten (right, 25) goes up for a basket behind the defense of Rising Sun’s Jeremy Cravens (40) and Hilltopper coach Matt Traylor (above) pleads for a foul call. Rhoten scored a career-high 19 points in Shawe’s 48-33 win. “ ... when he does his work to get open he can be very hard to guard and he’s starting to really get that,” Traylor said of Rhoten. “He’s starting to understand what he needs to do and what that can mean for us.”

(Staff photos by Mark Campbell)
Shawe Memorial played around with Rising Sun for a little over two quarters Friday night and then slammed the door by outscoring the Shiners 30-13 the rest of the game in a 48-33 win that was getting more lopsided by the minute.

The first half was closely contested, but the Hilltoppers led from the outset and the two teams were tied just twice including 18-18 at halftime. Rising Sun's Brandon Turner scored on the Shiners' first possession of the second half for the visitor's only lead of the night at 20-18 and Shawe answered with a 11-2 run the rest of the quarter and then closed out the fourth 19-11 to win the game going away.

Shawe answered the Shiners' only lead with back-to-back baskets by senior guard Luke Higgins, including his only 3-pointer of the night, to go back up 23-20. Turner scored again midway through the quarter but Shawe gradually pulled away to a 29-22 cushion by the close of the quarter.

"Luke Higgins made a couple of really big plays for us at big times in the game," Shawe coach Matt Traylor said. "He's kind of got a knack for knowing just when we need that."

But while it was Higgins who kept the Shiners from getting over the hump, it was senior forward Taylor Rhoten who provided the steepest challenge by scoring time-after-time on backcuts and baseline jumpers en route to a season-high 19-point-night that was within a point of his career-best.

"Taylor really did a good job for us tonight," Traylor said. "He did a nice job of sealing off inside and our guys did a nice job of getting the ball to him when he did.

"It was probably a combination of those things but when (Rhoten) does his work to get open he can be very hard to guard and he's starting to really get that," Traylor added. "He's starting to understand what he needs to do and what that can mean for us."

Rhoten contributed in all four quarters, scoring six of Shawe's 11 points in the first period, adding a basket each in the second and third quarters and then tacking on three more baskets and a perfect 3-of-3 at the foul stripe in the fourth as Shawe turned the game into a runaway.

To see his Hilltoppers take care of business in the fourth quarter was a welcome sight to Traylor. Shawe has, at times, throttled back in the stretch and that has cost the team some wins and made several other games far closer than necessary.

"We have the tendency to not put away games at the end the way I know we are capable of doing but tonight I thought we did a much better job toward the end of the game," Traylor said.

One of the keys to Shawe's big second half was the Hilltoppers' aggression on defense and attacking play on offense. However, that defensive aggression got to be a bit of a problem in the final 2:26 of the third quarter when the Hilltoppers were whistled for four fouls in a span of just 13 seconds to force Traylor to call a timeout to settle his troops.

"I just had to call them over and remind them that we were not being very intelligent," Traylor said. "If you are going to guard guys chest-to-chest and they are going to call fouls when you do that, you've got to realize that and back off. I think we were letting our emotions get to us a little bit at that time and that timeout allowed me to calm everybody back down."

Shawe returned from the huddle and was whistled for just three more fouls the rest of the way while steadily pulling away to a game-high 17-point lead before settling on the 15-point win.

In addition to Rhoten's game-high 19 points, Shawe got 13 from Higgins and 11 from David Grote. However, Traylor was quick to point out that the team's contributions were many and not all were accounted for on the scoreboard.

"Grote did an unbelievable job off the ball," Traylor noted. "We had him with 12 rebounds and four assists and we only had 12 turnovers as a team and that's pretty good.

"We had a lot of guys make contributions that don't necessarily show up in the scorebook but they win games," Traylor added. "Kyle Daugherty rebounded and hustled and Jesse Ball played great defense and was a stopper tonight."

Rising Sun (1-12, 0-2 ORVC) was led by Turner's 14 points and Ryan Dugan scored 10. Nathan Hannan, normally a starter and one of the Shiners' best offensive threats, came off the bench Friday night and ended the night with no points.

The Shiners entered the game riding an 11-game losing streak that started after Rising Sun beat South Dearborn 55-44 in the season opener for both on Nov. 21. Regardless of that, Traylor said the Hilltoppers consider any conference win a quality win.

"At the end of the day it was a conference win and we're always going to be happy and content that we got a conference win," Traylor said. "What we're not going to be is so naive that we don't think we've got some things we still need to fix."

The Hilltoppers' next test will come Friday night when Shawe visits a Switzerland County squad, now 10-4 overall and 2-1 in the ORVC, that is fresh off a 66-40 non-conference win at New Washington Friday night.

"Switzerland County is physical, big and aggressive and B.J (McAlister) always has them playing hard," Traylor said. "But at the end of the day, we've got the same game plan for them as tonight. We've got to rebound and guard them inside and close out on their shooters outside.

"Right now we've just got to stay the course and defend the way we talk about wanting to defend, rebound and block out," Traylor added. "We just need to keep getting better at that, and if we do everything will be OK."

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FRIDAY'S BOYS GAME

at Madison

SHAWE 48, RISING SUN 33



RISING SUN 7 11 4 11 - 33

SHAWE 11 7 11 19 - 48



RISING SUN (1-12, 0-2 ORVC) - (f)Turner 14, (f)Dugan 10, (g)Uhlmansiek 4, (g)Beckett 3, (f)Cravens 2, Hannan 0, Huber 0, A. Armstrong 0, Morris 0, Sporleder 0, K. Armstrong 0.

SHAWE (7-9, 2-2 ORVC) - (f)Rhoten 19, (g)higgins 13, (g)Grote 11, (f)Ball 3, (g)Mingione 1, Daugherty 1, Rios 0, Fry 0.



3-Point Goals - Rising Sun 0, Shawe 3 (Grote 2, Higgins 1). Free Throws - Rising Sun 5-14 (36%), Shawe 17-23 (74%). Total Fouls - Rising Sun 19, Shawe 15. Fouled Out - None. Next Game - Rising Sun hosts Waldron tonight. Shawe visits Switzerland Co. Friday.