Shawe's lack of execution against a similarly inexperienced opponent cost the Hilltoppers a 57-45 boys basketball loss to visiting South Decatur Tuesday night at Meny Gymnasium.

The young Hilltoppers, pitted against an equally inexperienced opponent, knew they had a good chance to pick up their second win of the season Tuesday against their Class 1A Sectional 60 rivals from Westport.

And while Shawe did stay within striking distance throughout the course of the game - a breath of fresh air for the Hilltoppers after two straight rough outings - the fact that Shawe could never rally closer than eight points and make a run at the lead left head coach Matt Traylor shaking his head afterwards.

"We're frustrated," Traylor said. "We're frustrated that we didn't practice the things we knew were coming tonight, we're frustrated we didn't guard, we're frustrated we didn't block out and rebound. We had some chances tonight and just watched the ball bounce. We were not ready to play mentally or physically tonight."

South Decatur (2-4) raced out to a 15-3 lead five minutes into the first quarter as Chris Johannigman, a 6-foot guard, wove his way inside the arc for eight points before Shawe's Patrick Bear hit a shot underneath to put an end to a 7-0 opening run by the Cougars. Myles Lewellyn answered Bear with a 3-pointer but Shawe's Brad Koehler drained a two with 44 seconds left and the score was 18-7 after one quarter.

Building off that late momentum, the Hilltoppers got four more points from Bear and another five from Koehler to cut the South Decatur lead to nine at the 5:32 mark of the second quarter.

The Hilltoppers closed to within eight points twice in the remaining minutes of the half but each time it seemed like Shawe would get over the hump, the Cougars had an answer. South capitalized by turning eight offensive rebounds into 10 second chance points to thwart the comeback effort and take a 37-24 lead into halftime.

"We didn't rebound very well," Traylor said. "We'd have two or three guys going to box out and the others just standing around watching. We weren't as physical as we should have been and in that case the faster and stronger team always wins out."

South Decatur's largest lead was 15 in the opening minute of the third quarter but Shawe slowly crept back into the ballgame behind much better rebounding in the second half.

Sid Thevenow, Koehler and Grayson Rhoten each hit big shots in the third quarter as Shawe whittled the Cougars' lead to nine with 3:45 left in the quarter. But that's when a pair of defensive lapses left South's Jordan Ortman wide-open on the perimeter for an easy 3-pointer and Lewellyn open on the baseline and the five-point swing put the Cougars back out on top by 14.

Shawe trailed by eight twice in the fourth quarter but each time South answered with quick 5-0 runs to stymie the comeback.

Down by 13 midway through the fourth, Thevenow, Rhoten and Koehler again rallied the Hilltoppers to within 50-42 with 3:17 left but Wullenweber and Lewellyn answered one final time to spoil the comeback party by hitting a 3-pointer and a two-pointer, respectively.

Shawe was never closer than 10 the rest of the game as South Decatur closed out the 12-point win.

"We're just not tough," Traylor said. "That's a pretty simple truth. When a few things go right for us we don't have it in us to dig a little bit deeper because we think we've already dug down deep enough. I really felt like each time we got it down to eight we would finally turn the corner because we were doing such a good job attacking offensively.

"But defensively we were lazy in getting out on shooters and we'd just fall asleep," Traylor added. "There were a lot of things that were within our control that we didn't do very well on. It just looked like we didn't even want to be here."

After struggling against a big and fast Henry County, Ky., team Saturday, Koehler came back and led all scorers with 17 Tuesday. Shawe also improved in the turnover department, committing just eight and scoring 15 points off of South's 13 turnovers.

South Decatur put four in double figures as Ortman, Johannigman and Wullenweber scored 11 each and Kopplin added 10.

Shawe (1-4) visits Crothersville on Friday.

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TUESDAY'S BOYS GAME

at Madison

SOUTH DECATUR 57, SHAWE 45



SOUTH DECATUR 18 19 8 12 - 57

SHAWE 7 17 11 10 - 45



SOUTH DECATUR (2-4) - Ortman 11, (g)Johannigman 11, (g)Wullenweber 11, (f)Kopplin 10, Lewellyn 9, (f)Studler 3, Cunningham 2, (g)Schwering 0, Taylor 0.

SHAWE (1-4) - (f)Koehler 17, (g)Bear 8, Thevenow 8, (f)Rhoten 8, Jines 2, W.Grote 2, (g)Wisman 0, (f)Rampy 0.



3-Point Goals - South Decatur 7 (Wullenweber 3, Kopplin 2, Lewellyn 1, Ortman 1), Shawe 1 (Koehler 1). Rebounds - South Decatur 31 (Taylor 4, Ortman 4), Shawe 27 (Koehler 6). Assists - South Decatur 12 (Ortman 5), Shawe 12 (Rhoten 4). Turnovers - South Decatur 13, Shawe 8. Total Fouls - South Decatur 15, Shawe 11. Free Throws - South Decatur 4-7, Shawe 6-14. Fouled Out - South Decatur: Johannigman. Next Game - South Decatur visits North Decatur today; Shawe visits Crothersville on Friday.