BOOM!: The Southwestern student section goes wild  and Shawe’s Joey Mingione (above, 21) can only watch after the Rebels’ Zach Westerfield (2) hit a 3-pointer at the end of regulation to force overtime against Shawe on Friday. The Rebels came back from 15 down in the fourth quarter to beat their rivals 83-74 in overtime. Southwestern’s Darius Whitson-Spegal and Michael Perry collapse on Shawe’s Luke Higgins (below). (Staff photos by David Campbell)
BOOM!: The Southwestern student section goes wild and Shawe’s Joey Mingione (above, 21) can only watch after the Rebels’ Zach Westerfield (2) hit a 3-pointer at the end of regulation to force overtime against Shawe on Friday. The Rebels came back from 15 down in the fourth quarter to beat their rivals 83-74 in overtime. Southwestern’s Darius Whitson-Spegal and Michael Perry collapse on Shawe’s Luke Higgins (below). (Staff photos by David Campbell)
Southwestern rallied from 15 points down in the fourth quarter to force overtime and then dominated the extra-session to pull out an 83-74 win over rival Shawe Memorial in the boys' portion of a varsity doubleheader at home on Friday.

The Rebels trailed 58-43 with just over seven minutes left in regulation before they caught fire. Zach Westerfield's wide-open 3-pointer from the right side with two seconds left tied the game at 71-71.

The overtime belonged to Southwestern. The Rebels scored the first six points to take control and held Class A No. 15 Shawe without a field goal for a big win in the Ohio River Valley Conference opener for both teams.

"I really don't know what to say," said a happy Southwestern coach Andy Firth. "They came out and worked and listened and made the plays. I couldn't be prouder of them."

Southwestern (1-2, 1-0 ORVC) led 14-11 after the end of the first quarter but could do little else over the next two quarters as Shawe seized control.

Using its guards to dominate the tempo and a strong defense, the Hilltoppers took a 32-23 lead at halftime and a 54-43 lead after three quarters.

Shawe (1-1, 0-1 ORVC) appeared to put the game out of reach when Luke Higgins opened the fourth with a jumper and Taylor Rhoten powered his way to the basket for two for a 58-43 lead with 7:18 left in regulation.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the blowout. Southwestern dug in and regrouped and came roaring back.

Tyler Jones got the Rebels started with back-to-back baskets and Mackenzy Withered hit a runner in the lane for a quick 6-0 spurt to cut the Shawe lead to single digits.

Darius Whitson-Spegal took over from there. The senior was making his first appearance of the season and took over the game with a pair of 3-pointers and a free throw to cut the margin to 61-56.

A Nick Wyne bucket and a lay-up by Withered capped a 17-3 run by the Rebels that pulled Southwestern to within one (61-60).

"Darius gives us a lot of athleticism and the ability to rebound," Firth said. "He brings a lot of energy and we're a better team with him on the floor."

Shawe wasn't ready to lay down just yet. Higgins, who finished the night with a career-high 34 points, knocked down a 3-pointer and added two free throws to push the Hilltoppers back up by five at 66-61 with 1:13 left.

Whitson hit a free throw and, after a Shawe turnover, Jones knocked down a layup to pull Southwestern back to within two before Higgins answered with a pair of free throws.

The Rebels' Gunnar Henry then made two outstanding offensive plays in the game's final minute to help force overtime. With his team down by four, Henry drove into the lane and hit a layup while getting fouled. His free throw closed the gap to one (68-67).

After Aczael Rios-Garcia hit two free throws for Shawe, Henry again took the ball right at the Hilltopper defense to draw a foul. His one free throw made it a 70-68 game.

"Gunnar told me on the bench he wanted the ball," Firth said. "He made some great plays."

Higgins had a chance to put the game away when he was fouled with 17 seconds left but only hit one free throw to leave the door open for the Rebels. On the offensive end, Henry drew the Shawe defense to him and then made a nice cross pass to Westerfield who was wide-openbehind the arc. Westerfield's shot hit nothing but net.

"I'd like to take credit for the play but that was all the kids," Firth said. "They were sagging on Darius and Gunnar made a nice read to throw it to Zach. The guys read the defense and did what they had to do."

The shot seemed to suck the life out of the Hilltoppers. After Higgins missed a potential running game-winner at the end of regulation, Shawe turned the ball over once and missed two shots in the overtime.

Southwestern, meanwhile, did not miss. Henry hit a bucket and two free throws in the extra session before fouling out with 17 points. Jones added a basket as the Rebels jumped ahead 77-71 with 55 seconds left.

The Hilltoppers missed three out of four free throws and a layup over a five-second span to seal their fate. Wyne and Whitson then each hit a pair of free throws to push the lead to 81-72 with 15 seconds left to seal the win and Higgins and Westefield traded two free throws each for the final margin.

Shawe went to the free-throw line 41 times and hit 29 (70.7 percent) but was just 13-for-22 in the fourth quarter and overtime. It was just part of the disappointment for Shawe coach Matt Traylor.

"We just could not defend very well, we couldn't shoot very well and we missed a lot of little things seniors shouldn't miss," Traylor said. "At one point we missed six-straight free-throws in the fourth quarter. We lost this game but we also didn't deserve to win it."

Higgins picked up nearly half of his 32 points at the free-throw line, going 14-for-16 from the stripe. But the rest of the Hilltoppers struggled with their shot. Taylor Rhoten scored 11 points and David Grote had 10 before both fouled out. Mingione added 10.

Whitson-Spegal's 19 points off the bench led Southwestern while Henry had 17. Withered scored 15 and Wyne 10 while Westerfield and Jones added eight each. The Rebels were 21-for-35 from the foul line.

"You look at the scorebook and it was pretty even down the line," Firth said. "We're getting better. Even last week when we lost those two games we were getting better. Now we have Darius back and Tyler Jones' knee is getting better. We're going to be a much better team than we are now."

Southwestern has the week off before traveling to New Washington next Friday. Shawe's turnaround is much shorter. The Hilltoppers host Indianapolis Scecina tonight.

"Before we played tonight I would have thought we would have kids that could turn around and play and handle the mental part of that," Traylor said. "After tonight, I don't know if we have those kids. We made some elementary mistakes and played like we had never been in that situation before. We didn't show much poise."

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Friday's Boys Game

at Hanover

SOUTHWESTERN 83,

1A No. 15 SHAWE 74, OT



SHAWE 11 21 22 17 3 - 74

SOUTHWESTERN 14 9 20 28 12 - 83



SHAWE (1-1, 0-1 ORVC) - (g)Higgins 34, Grote 11, (f)Rhoten 10, Mingione 10, (f)Ball 6, (g)Rios-Garcia 2, Daugherty 1, (g)Fry 0, Reuss 0.

SOUTHWESTERN (1-2, 1-0 ORVC) - Whitson-Spegal 19, (f)Henry 17, (g)Withered 15, (f)Wyne 10, (g)Westerfield 8, Jones 8, (g)Perry 6, Embs 0, Howell 0.



3-Point Goals - Shawe 3 (Higgins 2, Grote 1), Southwestern 6 (Westerfield 2, Whitson-Spegal 2, Withred 1, Henry 1). Total Fouls - Shawe 29, Southwestern 28. Free Throws - Shawe 29-41, Southwestern 21-35. Fouled Out - Shawe: Grote, Rhoten. Southwestern: Henry. Next Game - Shawe hosts Scecina today, Southwestern visits New Washington Friday.