Drive it, kick it to the 3-point line, shoot it, make it. That’s modern basketball.
“We practice those shots every day,” Shawnee senior Isaac Siemon said.
So when Drew Mitch drove the right side of the lane Friday night and passed to Siemon standing in the corner the outcome was predictable. Siemon swished the shot in the middle of a second-half Shawnee surge and the student section erupted behind Siemon.
That play was just one example of the kind of game Siemon and his teammates played on Senior Night against rival Kenton Ridge. Siemon snapped the nets for a career-high 33 points and the Braves slammed the Cougars 70-55.
“I knew it was going to be a lot of energy and a great atmosphere, and I just wanted to have fun my last game here,” Siemon said. “It feels great. I’m going to remember it for a long time.”
Shawnee (13-8, 5-5) had a double-digit lead at Kenton Ridge (16-6, 6-4) in early January before falling 48-45. In that game, the Braves held Cougars star Tyler Eberhart to nine points, but center Collin Perkins hurt the Braves inside with 21 points and seven offensive rebounds. This time the Braves put the 6-foot-3 Siemon on the 6-7 Eberhart and the 6-2 Mitch on the 6-8 Perkins. Eberhart had 16 and Perkins 12.
“For the most part I thought we did pretty well,” Siemon said.
Shawnee led 23-13 at halftime, holding the Cougars to three second-quarter points on 1-of-11 shooting.
“We had good shots,” Cougars coach Kris Spriggs said. “When you go 6 for 22 in the first half that’s tough. We held a team to 23 which isn’t bad, but when you score 13 it makes it tough.”
The Cougars made a couple mini runs early in the third quarter, but the Cougars answered every time mostly on 3-pointers by Siemon or Mitch (19 points) or Patrick Fultz.
“The big thing with us is confidence,” Shawnee coach Chris McGuire said. “If we shoot with confidence and play with confidence and take care of the ball we can be pretty good and be pretty explosive. It was good to see the shots go in tonight.”
KR finally got shots to fall in the fourth after falling behind my as many as 16. Eberhart hit a pair of long 3-pointers and Michael Severt made a trio of threes, two with hands in his face, but against the Braves had answers again from Siemon and company.
Spriggs isn’t worried that the loss will negatively affect his team heading into tournament play.
“You’ve got to give them a lot of credit,” Spriggs said of Shawnee. “They came out inspired and played hard. We just need to go out and make sure we don’t repeat this performance. The effort was there, but we just couldn’t get over the hump.”
McGuire characterized the season as up and down with some well-played games that were losses against good teams. Now the Braves have won three straight.
“I feel like we’re getting better and playing with more confidence,” he said. “And a game like this is only going to build that confidence. This is a big win for us because they’re a really good team.”
For Siemon, he is far from ready for to his senior season end. The tournament is another opportunity to shoot with confidence, play with confidence and keep practicing those corner threes.
“Our last game and this game I feel like it’s starting to come together a lot more,” he said. “We at our best right now, and that’s good because the tournament’s coming.”
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