The Rising Sun Shiners got a look at its first potential sectional foe as they hosted South Decatur on Saturday, Dec. 4th.
Coach Chris Jones’ crew gave a more experienced Cougars team a battle to the wire, including a possible game tying 3-point try by sophomore Noah Pflum.
The shot would have been the ninth tie of the game and sent the game to overtime but it did not and South Decatur escaped with a 60 to 57 win.
It was an evenly played gamed as the stats showed both grabbing 36 rebounds. South Decatur had 12 turnovers to 11 for the Shiners.
The difference was in shooting as Rising Sun took 64 shots to 47 for SD plus the visitors were 14-for-24 from the free throw line to 5-for-14 for the Shiners.
Rising Sun got off to a good start with Nick Koons scoring the first six points of the game. Brent Turner made it 8 to 4 but more important took a pair of charges from Cougar center Matt Cornett. That saddled the 6’7″ junior to the bench.
An aggressive Shiner squad rebounded with the Cougars in the opening quarter including eight offensive boards and proving that good positioning can make up for size disadvantage.
They led 15 to 11 after one quarter as Pflum scored on a fast break and 3-pointer.
Six-foot-two inch Oakley Billingsley (one of eight seniors) buried a pair of 3-pointers as part of his 10 points in the second quarter.
Rising Sun tied the game on a 3-pointer by senior Angelo Gallegos then again on a free throw by Tristan Brown, which sent the teams to halftime tied at 26.
Cornett put SD ahead to start the second half before Jason McClellan took a third charge from the Cougar big man with 7:19 left in the third quarter.
The game went back and forth throughout the third quarter with Tristan Brown scoring six of his 11 points. A 3-poointer by Pflum and a conventional three point play by Koons gave Rising Sun its largest lead of the game at 43 to 39. After a Cougar three point play, Pflum hit Trenton Gridley who converted a three point play for a 46 to 42 Shier lead headed into the final eight minutes.
A 5-0 run gave the Cougars the lead before Turner gave Rising Sun the lead with 6:49 remaining.
Gridley (the Shiners tallest player at 6’5″) scored his fifth point of the contest after leading the reserves to a 44 to 33 win with a dozen.
A Pflum 3-pointer gave RS its final lead at 55 to 54.
Cornett’s free throw tied the game at 55. Rising Sun had a chance to take the lead but missed a pair of free throws and Gridley couldn’t get an offensive board to drop. Meanwhile Billingsley collected a missed Cougar free throw and made it a three point game once again.
Brown pulled RS within one. Cougars failed to pull away as they were just 2-for-6 at the line in the final 30 seconds, leaving the door open for a possible Pflum shot with 2.5 remaining.
There were a total eight ties and 15 lead changes.
Cornett led all scorers with 21 points. Billingsley had 17. The Cougars were 21-for-47 from the field including 4-for-17 in 3-pointers while 14-for-24 from the free throw line (including 8-for-16 in the final four minutes).
Rising Sun was led by Koons with 14 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Pflum had 13 including three 3-pointers, five rebound four assists and two steals.
Brown added 11 points with two rebounds, three assists and two steals. The evening started out with the senior guard busting his mouth in warm ups. HE was already wearing an elbow pad from an injury in the season opener against South Dearborn.
Turner added nine points and nine rebounds. Gridley saw his first extensive varsity time and aided the Shiner cause with five points and four rebounds.
Gallegos added three points, three rebounds, four assists and three steals. McClellan had a basket with six boards and a steal.
Rising Sun dropped to 0-3.
The Shiners won the reserve contest 44 to 33 behind Gridley’s 12. Jake Powell had nine, Jacob Bovard eight, Trevor Levi six, Wes Rider five, Marc McClellan two and Peyton Bell two.
Rising Sun jumped out to a 16-4 lead after one quarter and dept the lead at 25-16 at the half and 35-28 after three quarters.
Rising Sun hosts Switzerland County in the Ruler of the River battle Friday.