UNDER WAY: Shawe’s Rachel Muessel (14) looks to pass over Christian Academy’s Heather Wood. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
UNDER WAY: Shawe’s Rachel Muessel (14) looks to pass over Christian Academy’s Heather Wood. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
A quick start - coupled with a 30-point outburst by Rachel Muessel - propelled Shawe Memorial to a convincing 73-49 win over Christian Academy Tuesday in the girls basketball season opener for both teams.

Muessel hit seven 3-pointers - one off the school record - and had 27 points in the first three quarters at Shawe's Hilary Meny Gymnasium. Ebony Inskeep added 14 and Hana Roberts had 12 while Katherine Bear picked up 10 rebounds in an impressive overall performance by the Hilltoppers.

"We did a lot of good things in the first half, defensively and offensively," Shawe coach John Kalb said. "We ran like we wanted to run and that's just worth everything in the world."

The game was a part of the Henryville Tip-Off Classic, a tournament Shawe has won each of the last three years. On Tuesday, the Hilltoppers served notice that a four-peat was straight in their sights.

Shawe scored the first 12 points of the game and 17 of the first 19 to open up a commanding lead. The Hilltoppers led by as many as 29 in the fourth quarter before a late Christian run pulled them within 15.

The catalyst for the blowout was the defense. Roberts had seven steals and Inskeep and Muessel each had six and nearly every one was turned into points on the other end.

On offense, the Hilltoppers were crisp and Muessel went to work against the Warrior zone, hitting three 3-pointers in the first half and three more in the third quarter alone. Her 30 points were two off the 5-foot-5 junior's career-high.

"We said before the season started that we wanted Rachel, Ebony and Hana to each average around 15 points a game," Kalb said with a laugh. "They did that tonight. Of course, Rachel bailed the other two out a little."

While the big three were dropping shots, the Hilltoppers' other four players also played well, gaining confidence with each passing minute. Kelsi Ward scored eight points - all on jump shots - and added nine rebounds while Bear had six points to go with her 10 rebounds despite playing in foul trouble.

Jennifer Morris and Kaylee Mingione, Shawe's only other varsity players, combined for three points and played strong defense.

"This was truly a team effort. Every single player contributed," Kalb said. "It wasn't just one person."

Shawna Doty carried the Warriors through the first half and finished with 17 points while Ali Thompson hit four 3-pointers of her own on the way to a 13-point night. Kelsey Biggs added 10 points for Christian Academy.

Both teams continue play in the Henryville Tip-Off Classic Thursday. Christian travels to Rock Creek while Shawe hosts Henryville. The final pool games will be played Friday with the championship scheduled for Saturday.

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at Madison

SHAWE 73, CHRISTIAN 49

CHRISTIAN 7 14 12 16 - 49

SHAWE 17 26 15 15 - 73

CHRISTIAN (0-1) - (g)Doty 17, (g)Thompson 13; (c)Biggs 10, Ballew 4, (f)Wood 3, (f)McKinley 2, Walker 0, Uhl 0, Stewart 0, Wise 0.

SHAWE (1-0) - (g)Muessel 30, (g)Inskeep 14, (f)Roberts 12, (c)Ward 8, (f)Bear 6, Mingione 3, Morris 0.

3-Point Goals - Christian 7 (Thompson 4, Doty 1, Biggs 1, Wood 1), Shawe 9 (Muessel 7, Inskeep 1, Roberts 1). Total Fouls - Christian 13, Shawe 15. Free Throws - Christian 10-17 (58.8%), Shawe 12-19 (63.2%). Fouled Out - None. Next Game - Christian visits Rock Creek Thursday. Shawe hosts Henryville Thursday.