Shawe head coach Camille Deuser (above) and assistant coach Kendall Withered talk to guard Maddie Waller during Tuesday’s basketball season opener against Christian Academy of Indiana. Freshman Claire Higgins drives the ball (below). Higgins scored 11 points and had 16 rebounds in the 40-31  loss. (Staff photo by David Hill)
Shawe head coach Camille Deuser (above) and assistant coach Kendall Withered talk to guard Maddie Waller during Tuesday’s basketball season opener against Christian Academy of Indiana. Freshman Claire Higgins drives the ball (below). Higgins scored 11 points and had 16 rebounds in the 40-31 loss. (Staff photo by David Hill)
Shawe dropped a 40-31 decision to Christian Academy of Indiana in the season opener for both teams Tuesday at Shawe. The game served as the opening round contest of the annual Henryville Tip-off Classic that is played at various sites.

Christian Academy guard Allison Burch, a 5-foot-6 junior, led the way offensively with 22 points and was a nemesis for Shawe defensively with several steals during the contest.

Shawe's only lead of the contest came when senior Taylor Grote hit a 3-pointer early to give the Toppers a 3-2 lead. The Warriors quickly grabbed control but still led only 7-5 after one quarter.

Burch, who had nine points by halftime, continued her good play into the second quarter, as CAI led by as many as eight points.

Deuser said while her team had trouble stopping the Warriors' offense most of the game, Burch was the one player who gave Shawe the most difficulty.

"She was very hard to stop on both sides of the ball," Shawe coach Camille Deuser said.

Shawe fought back toward halftime, thanks to a long 3-pointer by freshman Claire Higgins that brought the Hilltoppers to within 15-13. Shawe got the ball back and had two shots to tie before the buzzer sounded.

The Warriors threatened to put the game away early in the second half as the Warriors' defense tightened up and Shawe was missing shots and turning the ball over.

Offensively, CAI was building its lead back via a six-point performance by Emily Huffaker as Shawe trailed 24-13 at the six-minute mark.

Shawe was able to fight back thanks to some big plays by Grote and Higgins and a key basket by junior Kaitlyn Boehm, which brought the Hilltoppers to within 26-23 heading into the fourth quarter and a Boehm free throw trimmed Shawe's deficit to just 26-24 in the fourth.

"Kaitlyn (Boehm) came in late in the game and made some huge plays for us," Deuser said of the 5-foot-10 junior forward who scored four points and had seven rebounds. "She was a real sparkplug and kept us in the game late."

But Burch answered by knocking down a big 3-pointer early in the fourth period that took the wind out of Shawe's sail. Another basket by Burch gave the Warriors a 31-25 lead.

Shawe didn't quit and fought back on key plays by Higgins and Boehm and following a CAI turnover and a Maddie Waller basket, Shawe was back within two at 33-31.

But Burch was just as strong of a factor defensively late in the game, picking up two critical steals, one in the waning moments that led to the game's final basket.

Deuser was pleased with her team's determination even in the loss.

"We didn't give up. We kept on playing when we got behind and I appreciate that hard working mentality," she said.

Deuser was also extremely impressed with the Hilltoppers' rebounding.

"I was shocked we had 50 rebounds," Deuser said. "We more than doubled (CAI's) total and that's quite a swing from averaging just 12 a year ago."

Higgins led the Hilltoppers board work with six offensive and 10 defensive rebounds to cap a double-double of 11 points and 16 rebounds by the 5-foot-6 freshman.

One of Deuser's biggest concerns remains to be the team's shooting, as the Hilltoppers made just 8 of 41 shots from the field and only 9 of 21 from the free throw line.

"There were a lot of misses out there that we normally make," Deuser said. "We'll have to work on it in practice."

Deuser hopes Shawe can take several things from the opener and build opon that for the rest of the season.

"It was a very physical game tonight," she said. "These types of games can build you up both physically and mentally. Last year in this type of game, I think we would have curled up and cried.

"Tonight's game against a good team will let us know early in the season some of the things we need to work on," she concluded.

Shawe continues play in the Classic at Clarksville Providence Thursday and then visits Crothersville Friday. The final round will be played Saturday at Henryville.

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HENRYVILLE TIP-OFF CLASSIC

at Madison

CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 40, SHAWE 31



CHRISTIAN 7 8 11 14 - 40

SHAWE 5 8 10 8 - 31



CHRISTIAN (1-0) - (g)Burch 22, (g)Huffaker 8, Carruthers 4, (f)Lizzie 2, Wright 2, Caldwell 2, (f)Moffett 0, (f)Baird 0, Furnish 0.

SHAWE (0-1) - (g)Grote 11, Higgins 11, Boehm 4, (g)Waller 3, Garcia 2, (g)Snodgrass 0, (f)Goebel 0, (f)Storm 0, Koehler 0, Armstrong 0, Fry 0.



3-Point Goals - Christian Academy 2 (Burch 2), Shawe 2 (Higgins 1, Grote 1). Total Fouls - Christian Academy 21, Shawe 13. Free Throws - Christian Academy 6-8, Shawe 9-21. Fouled Out - None. Next Game - Both teams continue play in the Henryville Classic Thursday: Christian Academy visits Crothersville; Shawe visits Providence.